Neshannock escapes with road win over Laurel
Neshannock (58) Vs. Laurel (57)
By Joe Sager
New Castle News

You’ve heard of Spygate and Deflategate. Add Powdergate to the sports lexicon.

Baby powder on the court from the Laurel student section’s pregame celebration last night caused the game against visiting Neshannock to be stopped twice in the first quarter. While it was not done maliciously to give the Spartans a competitive edge, it may have given the Lancers the break they needed to post a 58-57 victory in the WPIAL Section 1-AA finale.

Neshannock missed its first handful of shots and players had trouble maintaining their footing near the Laurel bench. The game was stopped once so the floor could be swept. It was halted a second time with 4:58 remaining in the frame for a thorough floor mopping.

The Spartans (10-3 section, 15-7 overall) had a 7-0 lead and all the momentum in front of a rowdy standing room-only crowd. Once play resumed, the Lancers (10-4, 15-6) closed the quarter with a 9-6 run to trim the deficit to 13-9.

“We’re down 7-0 and then it’s Powdergate. The game gets stopped and we had a little bit of a lull. It actually may have benefited us because they were off to a quick start up to that point,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “I thought we were playing really well. They just had some good opportunities. Powdergate helped us.”

Indeed. The Lancers took control in the second quarter. Junior Ethan Moose got hot when he scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the frame. That effort fueled the visitors, who fell to Laurel (76-63) in the first meeting on Jan. 13), post a 31-27 halftime lead.

“My assistant, Jon Kosior, told him he had to have 22 in the first half. He almost got that. It was a solid game for him,” Corey said.

Moose was happy to help his team enter the WPIAL tournament with some momentum.

“It’s a great win, especially since we haven’t been playing as good as we can lately. Our effort hasn’t been as good,” he said. “In this win, we showed a lot of heart and intensity. We’ll carry that over to the playoffs.”
In the third quarter, the Spartans’ Mason Mraz stepped up. He scored 15 of his team-high 23 points in the frame, including five-straight Laurel buckets to end the third. That outburst gave the hosts a 46-44 lead.

“Laurel is a great team. Mraz was on fire and we couldn’t stop him,” Moose said. “They have a lot of guys who work hard and go for every loose ball and they play good defense.”

Corey echoed those thoughts: “They have multiple scorers. It makes it difficult from a defensive standpoint because you want to gimmick them and mix defenses up, but they have guys that expose you if each one of those defenses isn’t perfect. They are a very good team and I know they are going to do well in the playoffs.”

Laurel increased its lead to seven, 51-44, on Scott Siddall’s bucket with 5:46 to go. However, Neshannock cut it to 53-48 and then went on a 9-0 run to post a 57-53 edge with 1:27 to play. Siddall’s hoop made it a 57-55 game, but Jimmy Powers split a pair of free throws for a 58-55 advantage with 30.2 seconds to go.

Mraz’s game-tying 3-pointer fell short, but the Spartans got the rebound with 8.9 seconds remaining. The Lancers fouled Mraz and he made both freebies with 4.7 seconds left. Neshannock turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play with 1.5 seconds left. However, Jimmy Medure stole a Laurel pass to secure the win.

“It was a fantastic game. I am very proud of our effort,” Corey said. “We lost pretty handily to them at home before. To come on their floor and get what was a very difficult win for us is great.”

Both teams tied for second place in the section and advance to the WPIAL playoffs. The pairings will be revealed Tuesday.

“We knew coming in that that was the type of game it was going to be. Obviously, they are very good and we feel we are very good. Unfortunately, someone has to lose. We were on the wrong end of this one,” Laurel coach Ken Locke said. “In the end, we didn’t do the job on the boards in a couple possessions and I think that was probably the difference. We’ll build off this. We tied for second in the section and hopefully we get a little bit of respect for the season we’ve had on Tuesday.”

Jake Rylott added 10 points for Neshannock. Moose had 10 rebounds, five blocks and four steals. Medure added six points and 13 rebounds.

Siddall finished with 18 points in the loss. Noah Wertz tossed in 11.

Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 9 22 13 14 0 58
Laurel 13 14 19 11 0 57
Box Scores
Jake Rylott 4 0-1 10
Ethan Moose 10 5-7 25
Frank Fraschetti 2 0-1 4
Jimmy Medure 3 0-2 6
Rich Serignese 0 0-0 0
Jim Powers 3 1-2 9
Frank Antuono 1 0-0 2
Donald Colucci 0 2-2 2
Totals: 23 8-15 58

Jordan Dantico 2 0-0 4
Noah Wertz 2 7-7 11
Tucker Skerbetz 0 0-0 0
Scott Siddall 8 1-2 18
Jacob Wilson 0 0-0 0
Mason Mraz 8 2-3 23
Isici Layne 0 1-2 1
Coltin Esposito 0 1-2 1
Totals: 20 11-14 57

NESHANNOCK 9 22 13 14 — 58
LAUREL 13 14 19 11 — 57

3-point goals — Neshannock 4 (Rylott 2, Powers 2), Laurel 6 (Mraz 5, Siddall 1).
JV score: Neshannock 65, Laurel 46. High scorer: N – Jason Swope 19, Ean Oprean 18, Brandon Scheidemantle 10. L – Colton Brown 12, Adam Enscoe 10. 
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