Laurel tops Neshannock in section showdown
Neshannock (63) Vs. Laurel (71)
By Andrew Koob
New Castle News

There isn't much that can be done in eight-tenths of a second.

Yet, with less than a second remaining on the clock in the third quarter, Scott Siddall had to come up with something, anything.

What the Laurel senior pulled off, thanks to an inbounds pass from Jake Wilson, was a half-court bank shot at the buzzer to give the Spartans the momentum they needed heading into the final quarter.

“I just gave Jake a look on that play," Siddall said. "He made a perfect pass and I had the shot.”

That shot, coupled with free throws and two powerful offensive performances, was enough to help Laurel push past visiting Neshannock 71-63 in WPIAL Section 1-AA play Tuesday night.

The Spartans (5-1 section, 12-2 overall) didn't truly get into an offensive rhythm until the opening of the second half. Both sides went on small runs in the first 16 minutes, as the Lancers held just a one-point lead at the break.

Laurel jumped out of the gate with an 8-2 run to open the quarter, then finished the third with a 10-2 run that ended in Siddall's half-court heave. The Spartans held a 21-14 advantage at the end of the quarter.

“All section games are big. We know, playing them, we expected nothing less than a battle," Laurel coach Ken Locke said. "Anytime we made a run, they made one back. I think that’s the veteran guys that we count on. They don’t get frustrated, they make their run and we stay focused and make another one.”

The six-point cushion held as the minutes and seconds ticked away, thanks to Laurel's success at the free-throw line.

Overall, the charity stripe was kind to the Spartans, but a disaster for the Lancers (4-2, 9-4). Laurel finished at 25 of 34 (73.5 percent) from the free throw line, while Neshannock hit just 7 of 19 (36.8 percent) of its attempts, with all but one of the successful free throws coming in the fourth quarter.

"I thought we played hard and physical but, when we can’t make free throws and we can’t get a field goal for long stretches in a game against a good team, that will happen,” Neshannock coach John Corey said.

Added Locke, "You have to make your free throws in a close game like this. Usually the team that makes more free throws will end up on top. We like to think we’re a good free-throw shooting team and we’ve done what we expected.”

Laurel, which takes sole possession of the second spot in the WPIAL Section 1-AA standings with the win, was led by Siddall and Mason Mraz, each of whom posted 22 points.

“They do what’s expected. We expect that from them night in and night out," Locke said. "But we have guys that can go in that make it difficult if you focus on Scott or Mason. That flexibility really helps us out and it helps them out.”

Ethan Moose paced the Lancers with 18 points, while Jake Rylott followed with 17.

Neshannock continued switching defenses, trying to keep the Spartans on their toes. It was Laurel, however, that turned in the defensive effort that the Lancers were seeking, as it held Moose to just six points in the first three quarters.

“We played about six different defenses tonight, just trying to conjure up something and give them different looks and make them think," Corey said. "At the end of the day, they made some timely shots and we couldn’t get over the hump.”

Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 17 7 14 25 0 63
Laurel 12 11 21 27 0 71
Box Scores
Jake Rylott 7 1-1 17
Frank Fraschetti 2 0-2 6
Ethan Moose 7 4-8 18
Jason Swope 3 1-7 8
Rich Serignese 1 0-0 3
Ean Oprean 1 0-0 2
Brandon Scheidemantle 3 1-1 9
Mike Nuzzo 0 0-0 0
Totals: 24 7-19 63

Jordan Dantico 2 4-4 8
Tucker Skerbetz 3 1-2 8
Isici Layne 0 0-0 0
Scott Siddall 6 6-6 22
Jacob Wilson 2 4-6 9
Mason Mraz 6 10-16 22
Colton Brown 1 0-0 2
Totals: 20 25-34 71

NESHANNOCK 17 7 14 25 — 63
LAUREL 12 11 21 27 — 71

3-point goals — Laurel 6 (Skerbetz 1, Siddall 4, Wilson 1), Neshannock 8 (Rylott 2, Fraschetti 2, Swope 1, Serignese 1, Scheidemantle 2).
JV score: Laurel 56, Neshannock 49. High scorers: L — Aaron Sickafuse 14, Coltin Esposito 12, Adam Enscoe 11, Benjamin Wilson 11; N — Dante DeLillo 13, Chris Scott 11.
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