Sansone’s long-range flurry snows Ellwood under
Neshannock (85) Vs. Ellwood City (54)
By Dan Irwin
New Castle News

Most of the time, it’s not good to be on the outside looking in.

Unless you’re John Sansone.

The Neshannock High boys basketball senior has been spending a lot of time beyond the 3-point arc lately, and making the most of it. He hit eight treys last night en route to a season-high 30-point effort and leading the Lancers to an 85-54 romp over Ellwood City.

Sansone’s performance came on the heels of a seven-trey, 27-point effort Tuesday against Laurel.  

“If I’m hitting in warm-ups, then it always feels good to do that,” said Sansone, who unofficially was 8-of-11 from 3-point range. “It just carries over to the game.

“My teammates got me open and they got me the ball (because) they knew I was feeling it. So they got me the ball whenever I was open, and I was knocking it down tonight.”

Interim head coach Ken Locke said Sansone — who did a fair night’s work inside the paint as well with a team-high 10 rebounds — isn’t counted on to light things up from the nether regions of the forecourt. But he isn’t exactly discouraged from taking the shot, either.

“That’s not our game plan, but obviously, if he’s open, if Ernie (Burkes, who had 20 points) is open, those guys have the green light any time,” Locke said. “Either one can light it up.

“We just play it by how the game goes, and fortunately, he’s been getting some good looks and knocking them down.”

Also reaching double figures for the Lancers (4-3 section, 8-6 overall) was Joe Iorio, who had 13 markers in just his second game back after missing seven contests with a dislocated elbow.

Despite the Lancers’ offensive firepower, the Wolverines (2-5, 6-8) managed to keep pace throughout the first half, trailing by just 45-42 at intermission. Brandon Lucarelli poured in 14 points over the first two periods to spark Ellwood’s attack.

Lucarelli, though, managed just two more points in the final two quarters, and Neshannock turned the game into a rout by outscoring the Wolverines 40-12 over the same span.

“We just made a few adjustments at halftime, and the guys responded,” Locke said. “(Lucarelli) hit some shots, he was on, so we made a couple adjustments to take him out a little bit, and it worked. The guys executed well.”

The key, Sansone noted, was getting more pressure on the ball.

“We were kind of sagging off on the first half, giving them too many open looks,” he said. “We were more up in the passing lane and more up on the ball pressuring the second half.”

Neshannock now has won five of its last six games after a 3-5 start. The Lancers miss head coach John Corey, who sat out his second straight game because of health issues, but they’re determined to carry on the lessons he’s taught them.

“It’s weird not having him here, looking over at the bench and not seeing him there,” Sansone said. “But that just gives us a little incentive and it makes us drive even harder.”

Locke agrees.

“This was a big win for us, to get off on the right foot to start the second half of the season,” he said. “Now we just want to keep the momentum going and have things all set for John when he gets back.”

Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 27 18 20 20 0 85
Ellwood City 23 19 5 7 0 54
Box Scores
Mario Greco 4 0-0 8
Matt Germanoski 4 3-3 13
Matt Morella 5 1-2 11
Jared Vetica 0 0-0 0
Brandon Lucarelli 7 0-0 16
Matt Young 1 0-1 2
Justin Vetica 0 2-4 2
Cavio Stevenson 0 0-0 0
Kevin Court 1 0-0 2
Totals: 22 6-10 54

Ernie Burkes 7 6-7 20
John Conglose 1 0-0 2
Joe Iorio 6 1-6 13
Anthony Van Eman 3 2-3 8
John Sansone 10 2-2 30
Matt McKinney 2 0-0 4
Connor Jones 2 0-0 4
Ty Haswell 0 2-2 2
Matt Seltzer 1 0-0 2
Clayton Kemerer 0 0-0 0
Zack Scott 0 0-0 0
Steve Jeffries 0 0-0 0
Steve Wolford 0 0-0 0
Totals: 32 13-20 85

ELLWOOD 23 19 5 7 — 54
NESHANNOCK 27 18 20 20 — 85

3-point goals — Ellwood City 4 (Germanoski 2, Lucarelli 2), Neshannock 8 (Sansone 8).
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