Mohawk moves a step closer to playoffs
Mohawk (60) Vs. Neshannock (55)
By Joe Sager
New Castle News

One goal down, one more to go for the Mohawk High boys basketball team.

With last night’s 60-55 win at Neshannock, the Warriors can put a checkmark next to their second objective Friday when they welcome Shenango in WPIAL Section 2-AA action.

A victory puts Mohawk (5-6 section, 10-10 overall) into the playoffs. A loss, coupled with a Neshannock loss Friday at Laurel, moves the Warriors into the postseason as well based on their season sweep of the Lancers.

“At the beginning of the year, we talked about having certain goals. The first was equaling last year’s win total (four) and building off that,” Mohawk coach Rob Fadden said. “Any of those guys in there would have been happy at the beginning of the year if we told them the last game of the season was going to mean something for the playoffs.”

Neshannock (5-6, 10-10) can secure a postseason victory only with a win against the Spartans and a Mohawk loss.

“It was one of those situations where we didn’t have to play the waiting game; we could have taken care of business on our home court and we failed to do that,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “It was just a very frustrating loss. Mohawk did a very good job. I got outcoached; our guys got outplayed. It was just a very frustrating loss.

“We had four keys to the game and we didn’t do any of them. We didn’t box out, which was the No. 1 thing. Second, we didn’t force the tempo. The third thing was, we didn’t keep the ball in front of us so guys like (Tim) Glass and (Lucas) Grim wouldn’t be able to dribble to the rim. We didn’t play very good help-side (defense). So, when you don’t do what you need to do, it’s very frustrating to swallow. It just seemed that most loose balls, most 50-50 balls, Mohawk got them. I don’t know how you can win if that’s going to happen on your court.”

The Warriors led throughout the contest as they posted a 16-12 lead after the first. Lucas Grim and Tim Glass accounted for all of Mohawk’s points in the opening stanza. All told, they combined for 27 first-half points as the Warriors posted a 32-30 advantage at the intermission.

Fadden’s troops extended their margin to 53-40 after three quarters, but they struggled in the final stanza. Glass, who scored a team-high 20 points, aggravated a shoulder injury 45 seconds into the fourth. He returned to the game with 4:52 to play, but removed himself for good with 2:25 left on the clock.

In that span, Mohawk’s offense sputtered and Neshannock took advantage. After Grim’s bucket made it a 55-40 game 30 seconds into the frame, the Lancers went on a 15-1 spree to trim the deficit to 56-55 with 2:18 to go.

“We struggled. Neshannock turned up the pressure a little bit. Obviously, when Timmy goes out with an injury, that’s going to affect us. We felt the effects of it because he is our guy we go to in the middle against any kind of pressure,” Fadden said. “For the most part, I thought the guys who came in handled it and we hung in there.”

Jonathan Grim’s turnaround jumper boosted the Warriors’ lead to 58-55 with 46 seconds to play. Ernie Burkes, who fired in a game-high 24 points for Neshannock, missed a game-tying 3-pointer shortly afterward. Following a missed free throw, the Lancers went inside, but Ty Haswell’s runner clanged off the rim. Jonathan Grim grabbed the rebound, was fouled and swished both freebies to seal the win.

“We just had to fight through adversity. We had to fight to win. There are no easy wins in the section,” Lucas Grim said. “Now, if we win again, we’re in the playoffs.”

Jonathan Grim added 11 points for Mohawk, while Jim Gerazounis had 10. Glass is expected to suit up Friday.

“He’s had it happen before; he’s a tough kid,” Fadden said. “He’ll be back on Friday, I am sure.”
Game Scoreboard
Mohawk 16 16 21 7 0 60
Neshannock 12 18 10 15 0 55
Box Scores
Lucas Grim 8 1-2 19
Vince Menichino 0 0-0 0
Jimmy Gerazounis 4 0-1 10
Jonathan Grim 4 3-4 11
Mitchell Grim 0 0-0 0
Tim Glass 10 0-1 20
John Hartzell 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 26 4-8 60.

Ernie Burkes 7 5-5 24
John Conglose 1 2-2 4
Joe Iorio 3 0-0 6
Anthony Van Eman 0 0-0 0
John Sansone 3 0-0 7
Matt McKinney 3 0-0 9
Connor Jones 0 0-0 0
Ty Haswell 1 0-0 2.
Totals: 19 7-7 55.

MOHAWK 16 16 21 7 — 60
NESHANNOCK 12 18 10 15 — 55

3-point goals — Mohawk 4 (L. Grim 2, Gerazounis 2), Neshannock 10 (Burkes 5, McKinney 3, McCarthy 1, Sansone 1).
JV score: Neshannock 52, Mohawk 41. High scorer: N — Ty. Haswell 17; M — Gio Menichino 11.
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