Rivalry retribution
Neshannock (61) Vs. Mohawk (57)
By Andrew Petyak
New Castle News

It was a game the Neshannock High boys basketball team had circled on the calendar.

The Lancers were looking to avenge a road loss to WPIAL Section 2-AA rival Mohawk from December — and they did just that.

Neshannock’s Ernie Burkes recorded 26 points as the Lancers held off a late Warriors’ charge for a 61-57 home victory last night.

“They gave us a pretty good whooping earlier in the season,” Burkes said. “After our loss to Riverside at home last week, it kind of put some pressure on us. For us to not overreact and come into this game and get the win, that will get us boosted again. Hopefully we just go up from here.”

Neshannock (7-3 section, 14-3 overall) was trounced in the first meeting against Mohawk, 53-34. Slick driving conditions didn’t stop fans for both teams from coming out in full force with taunts, cheers and jeers for the rematch. The first quarter added to the excitement, as the teams exchanged four 3-pointers and ended the frame tied at 17.

“That’s the beautiful thing about all the county teams. It’s a great rivalry,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “Anytime you play a game like that and it’s at home or on the road, it’s going to be a great environment to be in. These kids deserve that because they’ve put a lot of hard work into it. It was a great game and coming out on top is even better.”

With Mohawk (5-5, 7-10) leading by three in the second quarter, Burkes drove hard to the net for a layup only to land hard on the court. Frustrated because no foul was called, the point guard played like a man possessed for the rest of the quarter, leading Neshannock on a 10-2 run to end the half. Burkes scored 16 of his 26 points after the layup.

“I had a lot of motivation coming into the game in the first place, because my mom (Marianne Burkes), teaches at the school. Those kids know stories about me,” Burkes said. “One of my friends, (Mohawk girls basketball star) Shelby Brown, and I were talking before the game, and that gave me a lot of motivation to play better. I know how well she’s doing, and I can’t let her do better than me.”

Brown is the leading scorer for girls in Lawrence County and was this week’s Lawrence County Athlete of the Week.

The Lancers carried their second-quarter momentum into the third, jumping out to a 43-36.

“In the third quarter, I thought we had a few empty possessions where we were just throwing the ball around and shooting when we didn’t have a handle on it,” Warriors coach Rob Fadden said. “We just didn’t gather ourselves and play a great quarter by any means.”

Mohawk was down, but not out, as the inside game of Vince Menichino and Jonathan Grim started to swing the momentum and the score back to the Warriors. Menichino notched 13 points in displaying nifty power moves to score baskets.

“I thought Menichino had some great post moves,” Corey said. “I thought he played extremely well. He’s such a strong kid. We had a heck of a time trying to contain him. We knew it was going to come down to a couple-possession game.

“We knew coming into the game we had to score in the 60s. We felt that was more comfortable us than it was for them, and we go there.”

Grim was a force for the Warriors in the second half, as he scored eight of his career-high 14 points in the fourth.

“I thought the second half Jon played the best he has all year. I hope he gained some confidence from this,” Fadden said. “The amount of time that he puts into his game in the offseason, it’s nice for him to get some of the rewards out of it.”

Grim frequently battled the 5-foot-10 Burkes in one-on-one situations, presenting challenges to the Lancers guard with his 6-5 frame.

“My mom always told me in football and other sports to go under the guy if they’re tall,” Burkes said. “A couple of times I went underneath him and got a layup. He blocked me a couple times too. We were really going at each other.”

Underclassmen Frank Fraschetti, Ethan Moose and Jim Medure logged key minutes for Neshannock. The group responded, combining for 12 points, including three 3-pointers. Moose, a freshman, had a pivotal 3-pointer in the second quarter with the Lancers trailing and also played sound defensively.

“It’s really exciting,” Moose said of the section showdown. “I just try to keep calm, and not let my emotions get in the way and just play how I know how to. Coach has put a lot of trust in me, and I just need to put a lot of trust in myself and my abilities.”

Mohawk closed the score to within two, 57-55, but was unable to get a stop on the defensive end as the Lancers held on. The Warriors have dropped their last four games, including three section losses.

“Every loss at this point is tough. We knew coming here it was going to be a great high school atmosphere,” Fadden said. “It always is when we come out here. It was a good game.”

(Email: a_petyak@ncnewsonline.com)
Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 17 14 12 18 0 61
Mohawk 17 10 9 21 0 57
Box Scores
Lucas Grim 2 1-2 6
Saivon Watt 3 1-2 8
Boyd Laughner 0 0-0 0
Vince Menichino 4 5-6 13
Travis Giardina 2 0-0 4
Gio Menichino 1 0-0 3
John Hartzell 1 0-1 2
Ryan Sager 3 0-0 7
Jonathan Grim 7 0-0 14
Totals: 23 7-11 57

Ernie Burkes 10 4-4 26
Matt McKinney 2 0-0 5
Tyler Haswell 3 3-4 9
Matt Seltzer 2 5-6 9
Jim Medure 0 3-4 3
Frank Fraschetti 2 0-0 6
Ethan Moose 1 0-0 3
Totals: 20 15-18 61

MOHAWK 17 10 9 21 — 57
NESHANNOCK 17 14 12 18 — 61

3-point goals — Mohawk 4 (L. Grim 1, Sager 1, Watt 1, G. Menichino 1); Neshannock 6 (Fraschetti 2, McKinney 1, Burkes 2, Moose 1).
Home | Game Schedules | Archive Coverage | Player of the Week
Lets Talk Basketball | BasketBlog | Big Shots
Copyright © NCBounce.com
All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.
Site Designed By: MotionLX, LLC