With Sewickley win, Neshannock gets PIAA spot
Mar 06, 2010
John Corey’s smile almost turned upside down Friday night.

The Neshannock High boys basketball coach had a comfortable feeling when Sewickley Academy held a 16-point halftime lead over Lincoln Park in last night’s WPIAL Class A championship game at Duquesne University’s A.J. Palumbo Center.

The Leopards came back in the second half. But thanks to Tom Droney’s 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining, Sewickley Academy escaped with a 49-48 win.

The victory propels Neshannock, which lost to Sewickley Academy in the quarterfinals, into the PIAA tournament as the WPIAL’s No. 5 seed.

“We weren’t openly standing up and doing the wave,” Corey said, “but obviously deep down we were Sewickley fans.

“It feels terrific,” Corey added. “We had our seniors down here with us. To see the relief in their eyes that there was more basketball for us was a great feeling.”

Lincoln Park defeated the Lancers twice this season by a combined 21 points. Sewickley Academy beat Neshannock by 34.

The Lancers finished in second place behind Lincoln Park this season in the Section 1-A standings. A year ago, the two teams tied for the section crown.

Corey said his team will face the District 9 champion (Elk County Catholic or DuBois Central Catholic) in the PIAA first round.

“The thing for us will be the long layover that we’ve had,” said Corey, whose team hasn’t played since Feb. 26. “That’s a concern. We’ll get a good scout on the winner of that district and have the rest of the week to prepare.”

Last season, Neshannock lost to Shade, 60-47, in the PIAA first round.

Bobby Nittinger leads the Lancers with 458 points in 24 games this year for a 19.0 average. The 6-foot-4 senior has drained a team-high 64 3-pointers.

Brandon Marinelli and Joey Fontana also have double-digit averages. Marinelli scores 12.6 points per game, followed by Fontana’s 12.0. Sophomore point guard John Sansone tallies 9.9 ppg and has connected on 30 3-pointers.
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