’Cats avenge loss in 20T thriller
Neshannock (63) Vs. Shenango (64)
By Dan Irwin
New Castle News

Shenango finished its Revenge Tour 2012 last night with a clean sweep.

The playoff-bound Wildcats posted their sixth straight WPIAL Section 2-AA win in a 64-63 double-overtime thriller against Neshannock. The Senior Night triumph also was their third victory in a row against teams that had beaten them the first time around.

Holding off the Lancers, though, may have been the most rewarding, and not just because Neshannock had prevailed in overtime in the two teams’ first matchup.

“We knew more than anything we wanted to beat Neshannock,” Shenango senior Jeff Williams said, “since we were 0-6 in my high school career. We wanted to get at least one ‘W’ on them before our careers ended. What a way to do it on Senior Night.”

Williams certainly did his part. He scored 14 of his 21 points after the end of regulation, as well as after teammate Jordan O’Hara — who had 25 markers — fouled out early in the first overtime.

Williams capped the uprising on a three-point play with 10 seconds remaining. With Shenango (8-3, 13-7) trailing 63-61, Williams intercepted a pass from Neshannock’s John Sansone, drove the basket and laid the ball up and in. He also got fouled in the process and sank the ensuing free throw, putting the ’Cats up by one. Sansone — who had a 30-point night, including a 14-of-14 effort at the charity stripe — then missed a 3-point try with four seconds remaining, preserving Shenango’s win.

“I know Jeff was hungry,” Shenango coach Bob McQuiston said. “He’s been talking about it since, I think, Day 1 of practice. He wanted to win this Senior Night game when he saw Neshannock was on the schedule.”

Williams’ game-winning moments began shortly after two Sansone free throws with 30 seconds left had given Neshannock (5-5, 10-8) a two-point advantage. Williams attempted to counter with a 3-point field goal, but his shot failed to find nylon and instead ended up in the arms of Sansone. However, Sansone lost control underneath the bucket, and Williams snared the ball near the top of the key, driving to the hoop in one fluid motion.

“Someone knocked the ball out or did something to cause Sansone to throw the ball away,” Williams said. “And whenever I got the ball, I saw someone underneath the hoop and I knew he was going to try to contest my shot.

“I wanted to get the contact and get the shot up, and thankfully, it went in, and I calmed myself down to make that extra free throw to win the game.”

Neshannock coach John Corey noted that his team did what it needed to do, but couldn’t quite finish.

“We kept stressing that the last time out, ‘We gotta get a stop, get a defensive rebound,’ then we get it, and it didn’t work out,” he said.

“I thought, when you look back, between O’Hara and Williams, they just kept finding a way to get to the rim. They made a ton of points in the paint, kept kind of backing us in and spin moves and stuff like that. We just needed one more stop and we didn’t do it.”

(Email: d_irwin@ncnewsonline.com)
Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 9 11 15 13 15 63
Shenango 7 13 12 16 16 64
Box Scores
Ernie Burkes 2 6-6 10
John Conglose 0 0-0 0
Joe Iorio 6 3-6 15
Anthony Van Eman 3 0-3 6
John Sansone 7 14-14 30
Matt McKinney 1 0-0 2
Connor Jones 0 0-0 0
Ty Haswell 0 0-0 0
Ethan McCarthy 0 0-0 0
Totals: 19 23-29 63

Brett Chieze 0 3-4 3
Jordan O’Hara 6 13-15 25
Jeff Williams 7 6-9 21
Mike Linz 3 3-5 9
Vinny Fiorilli 0 0-0 0
Greg DePorzio 2 1-4 6
Dane Gecina 0 0-0 0
Pat Lunn 0 0-0 0
Totals: 18 26-37 64

NESHANNOCK 9 11 15 13 9 6 — 63
SHENANGO 7 13 12 16 9 7 — 64

3-point goals: Neshannock 2 (Sansone 2), Shenango 2 (Williams 1, DePorzio 1).
JV score: Shenango 41, Neshannock 39. High scorers: N — Matt Seltzer 12. S — James Jacobs 10.
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