’Cats light it up in playoff romp
Shenango (69) Vs. West Shamokin (44)
By Dan Irwin
New Castle News 

WEXFORD — What happens when night gives way to day?

Lights out — which is exactly the way Shenango High shot the ball Saturday in what was not only its first afternoon game of the season, but also the Wildcats’ opening-round WPIAL Class AA playoff contest. Shenango drained a season-high 12 3-pointers — actually shooting better from beyond the arc than from inside it — en route to pummeling West Shamokin, 69-44, at North Allegheny.

The victory earned the Wildcats (15-8) a quarterfinal matchup Wednesday against Greensburg Central Catholic (17-5), the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s fifth-ranked WPIAL Class AA team.

Shenango knocked down 12 of its 21 3-point attempts, a 57 percent performance. From 2-point range, the Wildcats were 13 of 29 (44.8 percent). Brett Chieze had four of the treys to highlight his 14-point performance, while Greg DePorzio (13 points) had three, Jeff Williams (20 points) and Jordan O’Hara (15 points) had two each, and Pat Lunn had one, his only bucket.

It did, though, take a few minutes for the Wildcats’ guns to find their range. Shenango missed six of its first nine shots, and by the time the Wolves’ Andy Stover converted an offensive rebound 28 seconds into period two, the Wildcats could manage only a 14-14 tie.

At that point, Shenango erupted for a 12-2 run and never looked back. Chieze and O’Hara capped the uprising with back-to-back 3-pointers.

“We know if we just keep shooting the ball the shots are going to start falling because we’re all really great three-point shooters,” O’Hara said. “And once one person is on, it will open up for the other players.”

Keeping the Wolves (12-11) in the contest early on was junior Alex Rocco, who drove to the hoop relentlessly and contributed eight of his 25 points in the first period. He managed just four, though, in the second quarter as Shenango began to pull away.

“Early on, he was doing a good job of getting to the basket,” Shenango head coach Bob McQuiston said. “He was spinning to the basket and we weren’t getting there weak side. Later on, we did a better job but he just went through our defense.”

Chieze added that slowing Rocco became a matter getting a little more physical.

“He had a real nice spin move that’s hard to stop,” the senior said. “He was putting his body on us, which was killing us, and I just tried to body him and outstrength him, and that’s what worked on him.”

With Rocco slowed and no other Wolves hitting double figures, Shenango turned things over to its offense, which now has 22 treys in its last two games.

“The one thing we wanted to do is push the ball and kick it out to our three-point shooters, and I think we did a really good job of that,” McQuiston said. “That was one of our offensive goals today. We wanted to get into a transition game with them so we could get our shooters some shots and fortunately, they were knocking them down.”

And as for taking the court while the sun’s still up, well, “It’s like back in junior high, playing after school at 3 o’clock,” O’Hara noted. “But I think we were all up for it.”

(Email: d_irwin@ncnewsonline.com).

Game Scoreboard
Shenango 14 19 20 16 0 69
West Shamokin 12 10 11 11 0 44
Box Scores
Derek Fleming 0 0-0 0
Damon Craig 3 1-4 7
Anthony Rocco 12 0-0 25
Andy Stover 2 0-0 4
Zane Clowser 1 0-0 2
Matt Marsh 2 0-0 4
Zac Horner 1 0-0 2
Jason McCaslin 0 0-0 0
Travis Reesman 0 0-0 0
Austin Bussard 0 0-0 0
Kyle Schons 0 0-0 0
D.J. Hough 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 21 1-4 44.

Brett Chieze 5 0-1 14
Jordan O’Hara 5 3-4 15
Jeff Williams 7 4-5 20
Mike Linz 2 0-0 4
Greg DePorzio 5 0-0 13
Vinny Fiorilli 0 0-0 0
Brian Tanner 0 0-0 0
Pat Lunn 1 0-0 3
Dane Gecina 0 0-0 0
Josh McCormick 0 0-0 0
Matt Pherson 0 0-0 0
James Jacobs 0 0-0 0
Nico Pagley 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 25 7-10 69.

WEST SHAMOKIN 12 10 11 11 — 44
SHENANGO 14 19 20 16 — 69

3-point goals — West Shamokin 1 (Rocco 1), Shenango 12 (Chieze 4, DePorzio 3, O’Hara 2, Williams 2, Lunn 1).

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