Burkes steps up in Lancers’ win
Neshannock (72) Vs. Union (51)
Dec 10, 2011
By Joe Simon
New Castle News

As Neshannock High’s John Sansone walked off the court, Lancers coach John Corey shook his head in disgust.

It was just a few minutes into the game, and Neshannock’s star player already was in foul trouble. While Union fans cheered wildly, Lancers’ point guard Ernie Burkes took a deep breath and collected his thoughts.

“When I saw he was in foul trouble and had to go to the bench, I realized I had to step up for my team,” he said. “I tried my best.”

That was more than enough.

Burkes was nearly unguardable as he used his quickness and smooth jumpshot to lead the Lancers to a 72-51 win over Union in the opening round of the Neshannock Tipoff Tournament.

Burkes, just a sophomore, scored a game-high 26 points. The Scotties tried several different defenders on him, but nothing worked. He bolted past defenders and hit a few 3s when they backed off to try and slow him down.

“With him and Sansone, they have two very good guards,” Union coach Dave Smialowski said. “Ernie can handle the ball, he can shoot it, he sees the floor well and he’s a nice player. And I think Sansone complements him well.”

Despite only playing about 10 to 15 minutes, Sansone, the leading returning scorer for Neshannock (1-0), scored 17 points, including a pair of 3s in the third quarter that put an end to a Union run.

But it was Burkes who was the key to Neshannock taking a 32-19 halftime lead. He scored 11 in the first half, made all six of his free throws and created opportunities for others with seven of the Lancers’ eight assists. Several of those went to 6-foot-4 Joe Iorio, who added 16 points and eight rebounds for Neshannock.

“Moving him (Burkes) up last year and him playing as a freshman, that was the goal, to start that maturation process so that he was ready for this,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “He came in at times and did some great things for us last year, and like I said, the reason we wanted to give him that exposure last year was to make sure he was ready for this as a sophomore, and obviously he came out and played really well for us.”

Union hung tough with the Lancers for much of the game. Markel Peace scored 10 of his 16 in the first quarter to offset Burkes’ play. The Scotties made a run early in the third quarter and cut the lead to seven, but Burkes and Sansone quickly countered and stretched the lead to 15. They led by as many as 21 in the fourth as the Scotties started settling for 3-pointers and struggled to execute their offense.

“We had to chip away at it, and we got it to single digits,” Smialowski said of Neshannock’s lead. “Sometimes I think you exert a little energy and you sort of lose that steam a little bit. That might have been what happened.

“The biggest thing was we didn’t make shots. Our shots didn’t fall, and that was an Achilles’ Heel for us last year, and we were hoping we could fix that. But it’s only game one.”

Neshannock was 27 of 60 from the floor, while the Scotties shot 18 of 61. The Lancers also outrebounded Union, 34-21. Anthony Van Eman played a solid game for Neshannock with 10 points and eight rebounds. Ben Young and Toryan Respress added 10 points for Union, which plays Shenango at 6 p.m. today in the consolation game. Neshannock takes on Mercyhurst Prep at 7:30 p.m. in the championship.
(Email: j_simon@ncnewsonline.com)
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 17 15 22 18 0 72
Union 12 7 23 9 0 51
Box Scores
Ernie Burkes 9 6-6 26
John Conglose 0 0-0 0
Joe Iorio 6 4-9 16
Anthony Van Eman 4 2-4 10
John Sansone 7 1-2 17
Matt McKinney 1 0-0 3
Connor Jones 0 0-2 0
Totals: 27 13-21 72

UNION (51)
Joe Salmen 2 3-4 9
Drew Robinson 0 0-0 0
Tre Major 2 0-0 4
Markel Peace 6 3-5 16
Benjamin Young 3 3-3 10
Wayne Seamans 0 0-0 0
Toryan Respress 4 0-0 10
Clifford Clark 1 0-0 2
Totals: 18 9-12 51

NESHANNOCK 17 15 22 18 — 72
UNION 12 7 23 9 — 51

3-point goals — Neshannock 5 (Burkes 2, Sansone 2, McKinney), Union 5 (Salmen 2, Peace, Young, Respress).
Home | Game Schedules | Archive Coverage | Player of the Week
Lets Talk Basketball | BasketBlog | Big Shots
Copyright © NCBounce.com
All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.
Site Designed By: MotionLX, LLC