Sharpsville ‘presses’ issue against Spartans
Laurel (34) Vs. Sharpsville (47)
Dec 10, 2011
Laurel High School coach Mike Tinstman knew it was coming. He just didn’t think it would cause so much damage.

The Spartans took on Sharpsville and former Neshannock coach Jim Smiley in the first game of the fourth annual Wolverines Hoops Shootout at Ellwood City Lincoln High last night. Tinstman had gone against Smiley’s teams enough over the years to know that sooner or later, the Blue Devils would throw a full-court press at the Spartans.

What Tinstman didn’t anticipate happening was Sharpsville’s press being the difference in the contest.

The Blue Devils came on in the second half to defeat Laurel, 47-34, in a boys game that was moved to 4 p.m. from 6 p.m. so Sharpsville fans could get to the PIAA Class A football semifinal involving their team and WPIAL champion Clairton at Slippery Rock University.

Laurel held an 18-10 lead at the intermission and had limited Sharpsville to just two points in the second quarter and no field goals. But the full-court press gave the Spartans fits in the final two quarters.

“You know it’s coming that 2-2-1 press and the pinch,” Tinstman said. “We just didn’t do what we should have done (against it). We threw the ball anywhere but where we should have.

“We missed layups, we shot airballs, we missed foul shots. At one time I think we were 2 for 9 at the line.”

Meanwhile the Blue Devils, who looked lethargic in the first half, started to play well. They tied the score, 22-22, on a layup by Tommy Lipo, who score 10 points, and went ahead to stay on a free throw by Cody Conley with 1:15 left in the third quarter. Sharpsville took a 27-22 lead into the fourth period.

Laurel stayed close early in the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer from the top of the key by Richard Jones pulled the Spartans to within 33-28 and Laurel could have closed the gap even more but Jones missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity and Josh Dando missed two free throws about 30 seconds later.

Sharpsville then scored five consecutive points to up the margin to 38-28 with 3:46 left to play. Again, the Spartans fought back with Brad Telesz connecting on consecutive shots to cut the gap to six, but that was as close as Laurel would get. The Blue Devils outscored the Spartans 9-2 in the final 1:50.

“The first half I did not recognize us,” said Smiley, who is in his third season at Sharpsville. “I told the kids at the halftime ‘You’re better than that.’ We played better in our scrimmages.

“But, again, they are high school kids and now you’ve got guys in different color uniforms, three fans and some cheerleaders and we have to see if the stage is too big.”

The reason why Smiley didn’t press in the first half was because he had key players in foul trouble. Once the second half started, he turned the Blue Devils loose.

“They had, in my opinion, a size advantage on us and we had to start playing the game between the two foul lines,” Smiley said.

Sharpsville was also at a disadvantage because it had eight players who were still on the football team and at least two of them are starters.

“We had every reason to go out and not play well,” Smiley said. “I think we got better and the players gained confidence as the game went along.”

For Tinstman, it was just the opposite. He said the Spartans have plenty of work to do.

“We started making mistake and then you put your heads down and it snowballs,” he said. “And we weren’t strong enough to overcome our mistakes.”

Todd Fennick was the only Laurel player in double figures with 10 points.

The Spartans take on Vincentian Academy at 4:30 p.m. today in the shootout.
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Laurel 9 9 4 12 0 34
Sharpsville 8 2 17 20 0 47
Box Scores
Ryan Hites 2 0-0 4
Richard Jones 2 0-1 5
Todd Fennick 3 4-5 10
Joshua Finley 0 1-3 1
Conor Melichar 1 0-4 2
Kaleb Kingston 1 0-0 2
Josh Dando 2 0-2 4
Brad Telesz 3 0-1 6
James Steele 0 0-0 0
Totals: 14 5-16 34
Kevin Yarabenic 4 2-2 10
Tommy Lipo 5 0-0 10
Dayne Smith 2 3-6 9
Greg Poptak 0 0-0 0
Luke Vasconi 2 4-6 8
Sage barringer 1 1-2 3
Cody Conley 2 3-8 7
Jake Smith 0 0-0 0
Taylor Lenzi 0 0-0 0
Totals: 16 13-24 47

LAUREL 9 9 4 12 — 34
SHARPSVILLE 8 2 17 20 — 47

3-point goals — Laurel 1 (Jones 1); Sharpsville 2 (Dayne Smith 2).
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