Second-half struggles
Neshannock (40) Vs. Lincoln Park (68)
By Joe Sager
New Castle News
MIDLAND — The Neshannock High boys basketball team executed its plan well in the first half last night.

Lincoln Park had no desire to follow it in the second half, though.

The Leopards took charge in the third quarter and pulled away for a 68-40 home triumph in a WPIAL Section 1-AA battle.

The Lancers (5-1 section, 8-3 overall) controlled the pace for the first two quarters. Their shooters thrived from the outside and the team contained Lincoln Park on defense.

Jake Rylott’s second 3-pointer gave the Lancers their biggest lead, 13-6, with 1:32 left in the first quarter. However, the Leopards (6-0, 11-1), the Harrisburg Patriot-News’ second-ranked PIAA Class AA team, trimmed it to 15-13 at the buzzer.

Neshannock built its lead back up to five, 25-20, on Jimmy Medure’s bucket and free throw, but Lincoln Park, last year’s WPIAL and PIAA Class A champion, closed the half with an 11-2 run and posted a 31-27 lead.

In the third quarter, the hosts started converting outside shots and seized the momentum. Just like that, Neshannock’s upset bid evaporated.

“I don’t know if it was so much us as it was them. That first half consisted of two really bad turnovers on our part. But, other than that, we handled the ball really well. That was our main message coming in,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “I told our guys that they are good at pressing and they are going to play a couple zone traps and stuff like that. If we handle the ball well and make good decisions, we’ll put ourselves in position to win. I thought we did that in the first half. There were two turnovers that led to run out layups, otherwise, it was pretty much a tied ballgame at halftime.

“In third quarter, I think they just hit a ton of shots. With their athleticism and size, if they are going to shoot the ball like that, you’re kind of behind the eight-ball.”

The hosts carried the momentum throughout the third quarter and went on a 19-5 spree to grab a 50-32 advantage late in the third.

“I used a couple timeouts in that third quarter to try and slow them down a bit. It just seemed that, once they got it going, they got it going,” Corey said. “I thought our effort was really good all night. We knew we needed to shoot the ball well from the perimeter. In the first half we did that, in the second half we didn’t. You have to shoot the ball well against these guys. They made shots, so it was easy for them to pull away.”

The Leopards turned up their defensive intensity in the third quarter as well. The hosts limited the Lancers to three field goals in the third and one in the fourth. Also, they produced several turnovers that led directly to buckets, in addition to their hot outside shooting.

“We live and die by our speed,” Lincoln Park coach Mike Bariski said. “When we switched to man (defense), we were able to use our speed. We were able to pressure them well because we have some great man defenders. If I get them to play all year like they did in the second half, I’ll be quite happy.”

Neshannock returns to action Tuesday for a key section showdown at Laurel.

“It’s big league game; they all are now. Then, we start the second time around. Every game is going to be a battle,” Corey said. “We have to learn from this, put it behind us and get a win Tuesday.”

Rylott led the Lancers with 17 points, including five treys. Ethan Moose added 10 points.

Nelly Cummings bucketed a game-high 24 points for Lincoln Park. Antonio Kellem had 15 and Zay Craft added 14.

Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 15 12 8 5 0 40
Lincoln Park 13 18 21 16 0 68
Box Scores
Jake Rylott 6 0-0 17
Ethan Moose 4 2-4 10
Frank Fraschetti 0 0-0 0
Jimmy Medure 2 2-3 6
T.J. Scott 0 0-0 0
Frank Antuono 1 0-0 2
Donald Colucci 0 0-0 0
Pat Danglidis 2 0-0 5
Totals: 15 4-7 40

Antonio Kellem 6 0-0 15
Nelly Cummings 10 2-2 24
Zay Craft 6 0-0 14
Chance Tomassetti 4 1-2 9
Dermotti Welling 1 0-0 2
Mike Smith 2 0-0 4
Evan Brown 0 0-0 0
Totals: 29 3-4 68

NESHANNOCK 15 12 8 5 – 40
LINCOLN PARK 13 18 21 16 – 68

3-point goals – Neshannock 6 (Rylott 5, Danglidis 1), Lincoln Park 7 (Kellem 3, Cummings 2, Craft 2).
JV score: Neshannock 70, Lincoln Park 23. High scorer: N – Jim Powers 18, Brandon Scheidemantle 15.
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