‘We had a shot’
Laurel (57) Vs. New Brighton (61)
By Corey J. Corbin
New Castle News

The Laurel boys basketball team is still searching for that complete-game effort.

The Spartans’ struggles to play a full 32 minutes continued last night in a 61-57 homecourt loss to Section 2-AA foe New Brighton.

The Lions (1-2, 4-3) turned a three-point second quarter lead turn into a 36-25 cushion at halftime. Aliquippa and Beaver Falls used big fourth quarters to pull away from the Spartans in Laurel’s first two section contests.

“We’ve been preaching four quarters and (last night), we only played about three,” Laurel coach Ken Locke said. “When you do that against good teams, you’ll dig yourself a hole and it makes it hard to win. This is definitely the toughest section in double-A. I have no problems saying that. I’m confident we’ll be OK as we move forward.”

Josh Dando hit a 3-pointer with under a minute to play to force a 57-57 tie, but Craig Thompson put New Brighton up by two by tipping in a missed jumper. The Lions went up by four by converting a pair of free throws after Mason Mraz’s 3-pointer came up short.

“We had a shot,” Locke said.

The Spartans (0-3, 2-4) found themselves in the halftime hole after managing just 12 points in the second quarter.

“They didn’t do much different,” Locke said. “We gave up too many second-chance opportunities. They had 11 of their 19 free throws in the second quarter.”

Laurel bounced back in the third quarter with a 21-11 advantage to trail by one entering the fourth quarter.

“We got on the guys at halftime,” Locke said. “We didn’t play to our potential in the first half and the guys responded in the second half. We played much better. We got back in it and gave ourselves a chance to win it. I definitely liked the way we responded after halftime.”

Dando led the second-half charge by scoring 13 of his game-high 16 in the second half. He also pulled down eight rebounds.

“Dando stepped up after halftime,” Locke said. “We got on him, because we knew what he’s capable of. He came out in the second half and played much better.”

Scott Siddall also reached double figures with 12, while Mraz and Jacob Wilson chipped in 10 apiece. Mraz had seven rebounds and five steals. Wilson collected five rebounds and four assists.

“That’s one of the reasons why we’re difficult to play,” Locke said. “We don’t have that one guy that’ll put up 20 or 30 every night. We have five or six guys that’ll put up double digits on you.”

(Email: C_Corbin@ncnewsonline.com)
Game Scoreboard
Laurel 13 12 21 11 0 57
New Brighton 16 20 11 14 0 61
Box Scores
Rombold 6 2-4 14
McIlvan 3 0-0 6
Thompson 5 2-2 12
B. Williams 5 1-5 11
Pearson 5 3-4 13
C. Williams 0 0-0 0
Debo 1 3-4 5
Greco 0 0-0 0
Totals: 25 11-19 61

Zachary Wilson 3 0-2 6
Josh Dando 7 0-1 16
Kyle Forbes 0 0-0 0
Noah Wertz 1 0-0 3
Damian Steele 0 0-0 0
Scott Siddall 5 0-0 12
Jacob Wilson 5 0-0 10
Mason Mraz 4 2-2 10
Totals: 25 2-5 57

NEW BRIGHTON 16 20 11 14 — 61
LAUREL 13 12 21 11 — 57

3-point goals — Laurel 5 (Dando 2, Siddall 2, Wertz 1).
JV score: Laurel 32, New Brighton 40. High scorer: L — Tucker Skerbetz 9.
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