Lancers come up short against Hopewell
Neshannock (61) Vs. Hopewell (64)
By Andrew Koob
New Castle News

Twice last night, the Neshannock High boys basketball team had a chance to tie the game.

Twice, Hopewell shut the door on the Lancers.

The Class AAA Vikings held off Class AA Neshannock in the final three minutes to secure a 64-61 win in the second game of the Neshannock Tipoff Tournament.

“Basketball is all about runs,” Hopewell coach Doug Williams said. “The sooner you stop the other team’s run and the longer you keep yours going, the better team you’re going to be. When you have a group of guys that haven’t played a lot of varsity minutes, you struggle to stop their runs. One mistake turns into two, two into three. So as we go on in the season, I expect us to become better at that. I’m really happy with our effort, I thought we really played hard and really came to fight tonight.”

Ethan Moose paced the Lancers with a game-high 36 points, including 11 in the final quarter. Jimmy Medure was the only other Neshannock player in double-figures with 11 points.

The Lancers started the game on a cold streak and, after holding an early 5-2 advantage, didn’t hold a lead throughout the first half.

“There were a lot of possessions in the first half that we didn’t do the right things,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “To come in the locker down and stuff like that, I just thought we could have played a little bit better in that first half. I know we can shoot the ball a lot better than we did tonight and I think when we started at halftime we were 0-for-7 behind the arc.

“If you ask me what was one of our strengths, that would be it, our ability to shoot the basketball. First game jitters, whatever it is, we have a lot of young guys out there. We’ll learn from it and get better.”

The Lancers trailed by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter, but a 9-0 run halfway through the final quarter brought the Lancers to within two points. A Griffin Curry layup and foul, plus a Nate Bell score, stretched the Viking lead back to seven.

Moose responded with five points of his own to bring the score to 61-58. Hopewell turned the ball over with 24 seconds left, but a traveling violation against the Lancers with 15 seconds remaining sealed the victory for the Vikings.

Bell and teammate Cole Meeker scored a team-high 18 points each for Hopewell.

Neshannock showed its depth throughout the game, playing more than 10 players in the 36 minutes. The fresh legs came through on the critical run in the fourth quarter, showcasing how many players the Lancers can throw at their opponents.

“I thought, for all the fouls called in the game, that we would wear them down a little bit more than we did,” Corey said. “And maybe that did come into play with that nine-point run near the end. But our depth will be one of our strengths. Guys that come off the bench and play well for us is one of the things that I believe we have that a lot of teams don’t.”

The Lancers struggled with rotating on defense, allowing several easy looks at the basket. Those defensive lapses helped the Vikings connect on five three-pointers, three coming from Meeker.

“We have to stay in front of the basketball,” Corey said. “I thought, defensively, we just gave up too many easy opportunities. We were letting guys get around us a little bit and it’s something that we have to fix and make sure we keep that ball in front of us.”

Neshannock play Mercyhurst Prep on tonight’s 4:30 p.m. consolation.
Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 13 12 13 23 0 61
Hopewell 19 12 15 18 0 64
Box Scores
Griffin Curry 2 5-8 9
Nate Bell 5 7-8 18
Bryant Turk 1 0-0 2
Cole Meeker 6 3-5 18
Damon Zuccono 2 0-0 4
Austin Zuppe 4 3-4 13
Totals: 20 18-25 64

Jake Rylott 3 0-0 7
Ethan Moose 14 7-10 36
Frank Fraschetti 0 0-0 0
Jimmy Medure 3 5-6 11
Rich Serignese 0 0-0 0
T.J. Scott 0 2-3 2
Jim Powers 1 0-0 3
Frank Antuono 1 0-0 2
Donald Colucci 0 0-0 0
Pat Danglidis 0 0-0 0
Ray Scala 0 0-0 0
Totals: 22 14-19 61

HOPEWELL 19 12 15 18 — 64
NESHANNOCK 13 12 13 23 — 61

3-point goals — Neshannock 3 (Moose 1, Rylott 1, Powers 1), Hopewell 5 (Meeker 3, Zuppe 2).
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