Neshannock hopes ‘homework’ will pay off
Mar 16, 2010


The last thing a teenager wants is more homework.

But the papers John Corey handed his Neshannock High boys basketball team Monday led to a different assignment.

It was homework that was wanted, a piece of extra credit that was craved.

What Corey gave his troops was the Conemaugh Valley scouting report.

It will act as the Lancers’ bible heading into their PIAA Class A second-round game against the District 6 champion Blue Jays.

The two teams will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at North Hills High.

“I think the kids like it,” said Corey, who has given his team scouting reports throughout his two seasons at Neshannock. “It’s to get the kids familiar with who we’re playing — give them an idea of what we’ll be facing.

“It gets more important for the WPIAL and state games.”

Neshannock’s coaching staff scours the Internet for days leading up to the team’s playoff contests.

The scouting reports include statistics, matchups and newspaper clippings about the opposing team.

Conemaugh Valley’s report confirmed that it has size up front and “it is a very physically gifted team,” Corey said.

“They don’t have any 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8 guys like a Peter Schramm (Sewickley Academy) or a Devontae Watson (Lincoln Park),” Corey explained. “But they do have a lot of consistent size.”

Senior Jimmy Lupek, head coach Garry Lupek’s son, led the Blue Jays (23-3) to their first district championship since 1979 by averaging more than 17.5 points per game.

“People say that he is their best player,” Corey said.

Jimmy Lupek’s classmate and backcourt mate, Jason Preuss, is second on the team at 13.9.

“He’s only 5-9, but he’s lightning quick,” Corey said. “Between the two of them, it’s going to be a challenge for us.”
Forward Dalton Uncapher (11.4) and center Cody Kushner (11.3) also average in double digits. Lupek and Uncapher both are 6-4, while Kushner is 6-2.

Conemaugh Valley’s most potent weapon may be its zone defense. The Blue Jays have held their opponents under 50 points 12 times this season.

“That’s not a problem for us,” Corey said, “because we’ve faced a lot of zone throughout the season.

“But it does come down to hitting shots,” he added. “If you don’t hit shots, you could be in for a long night. We just need to string together a good shooting night and continue to attack the rim like we have and I think we’ll be fine.”

Neshannock (17-8) has posted similar individual numbers. Bobby Nittinger leads the Lancers with 18.9 points a game, followed by Brandon Marinelli at 12.3 and Joey Fontana at 12.1.

Sophomore point guard John Sansone completes Neshannock’s offensive attack with 9.9 ppg.

“This game is going to be won on the defensive side of the floor,” Garry Lupek said. “We will have to do what we can to limit their offensive leader and keep their other floor leaders quiet.”

Conemaugh Valley, which defeated District 10 runner-up Linesville, 67-33, in the first round, will be the second straight district champion the Lancers have faced in the PIAA playoffs.

On Friday, Neshannock upended District 9 winner DeBois Central Catholic thanks to a lethal fullcourt press.

If the Lancers can pull off another victory, they will meet either WPIAL Section 1-A rival Lincoln Park (19-7) or Southern Fulton (23-4) in the quarterfinals.

“It’s there,” Corey said of the possible rematch with Lincoln Park, which defeated Neshannock twice during the regular season.

“But when you’re in a single elimination tournament, there’s no point in looking past what we have in front of us.”

The Lancers, the WPIAL’s fifth seed, are the lowest ranked team remaining in the PIAA Class A tournament. They also are one of three WPIAL teams remaining, along with Lincoln Park and Sewickley Academy.

“I think that speaks volumes for the WPIAL,” Corey said. “I think it also speaks a ton for our section that we have two teams left.”
Home | Game Schedules | Archive Coverage | Player of the Week
Lets Talk Basketball | BasketBlog | Big Shots
Copyright ©
All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.
Site Designed By: MotionLX, LLC