Big Reds outlast Lancers in title tilt
West Middlesex (82) Vs. Neshannock (80)
The tortoise defeated the hare last night in the West Middlesex Holiday Tournament championship game.
The Neshannock High boys basketball team wanted a fast pace, while the host team slowed things down.
The result was an 82-80 overtime victory for West Middlesex, ending the Lancers’ five-game winning streak.
Neshannock (6-2) was behind the majority of the game until a 30-point fourth-quarter explosion tied the game at 70 by the end of regulation.
Joey Fontana’s steal and pass to C.J. VanEman at the buzzer forced the extra period.
“For the most part, we finally got in what we were supposed to be doing,” Neshannock coach John Corey said of his team’s run-and-jump press.
In overtime, West Middlesex knocked down 8 of 9 free throws, while Fontana and fellow starters Eric Bruening and C.J. VanEman fouled out.
Overall, the Big Reds made 28 of 39 attempts from the charity stripe, compared to only 11 conversions in 18 attempts for Neshannock.
“When you have three starters foul out, that’s going to cause some problems,” Corey said.
Five Lancers scored in double digits. Brandon Marinelli led Neshannock with 21 points, followed by John Sansone (17), VanEman (15), Bobby Nittinger (13) and Fontana (12).
Matt Dogan led all scorers for West Middlesex with 31 points, while Ryan Chupak chipped in with 20.
Both of Neshannock’s losses this season have come in overtime. The first was a 77-76 defeat to Union — the same game Scotties’ guard Anthony Thomas netted a career-high 47 points.
“The frustrating part with being 6-2 is that in both of those losses not executing on defense has hurt us,” Corey said. “We’ve had some defensive breakdowns that have cost us those wins.”