Corey returns to bench in Neshannock’s win
Neshannock (51) Vs. Riverside (36)
Jan 28, 2012
Special to The News

It was a nice return to the bench for Neshannock High School boys basketball coach John Corey.

Corey was hospitalized Jan. 17 with an undisclosed illness. He missed four games, and the first time he was at practice was Thursday night when he showed for an hour.

He said watching last night’s home game against Riverside in person was much better than sitting at home watching game tape. That the Lancers defeated Riverside, 51-36, in a key Section 2-AA contest also made Corey feel good.

The victory was important because it keeps Neshannock in the hunt for a WPIAL playoff spot. The Lancers are 10-7 overall, 5-4 in the section and in fourth place with three section contests remaining. The top four teams in each section and those teams tied for fourth place qualify for the playoffs.

“It helps,” Corey said of the victory. “It doesn’t solve anything at this point. We still have work to do, but it helps.”

Neshannock plays at Shenango, which upset section-leading Summit Academy last night, on Friday, then has a nonsection game against Aliquippa before closing out the regular season at home against Mohawk and at Laurel.

Riverside (5-3, 10-8) has lost three in a row. Shenango is 6-3, 11-6, with Mohawk 4-4, 9-8.

The Lancers were a two-man offensive show for most of the evening. They held a 28-17 lead at the half with John Sansone and Ernie Burkes combining to score all of the Neshannock’s points.

“We both got off to a pretty good start against them,” said Sansone, who scored a game-high 22 points and found himself in a unique situation.

He guarded Riverside’s 6-foot-5 junior Gig Jewell in the Lancers’ man-to-man, pressure defense and then ended playing point guard on offense when Burkes got in foul trouble in the third quarter. Sansone, who is 5-11, helped hold Jewell to five points.

It’s not often the point guard is asked to guard an opponent’s big man.

“I thought John Sansone was outstanding guarding a guy four or five inches taller than him. He was giving away 50 pounds but was still able to guard him tight,” Corey said.

Jewell, who came into the contest averaging 13 points a game, didn’t score in the first half and took just four shots.

“They expect me to do a lot of things and I try to do them the best I can,” Sansone said. “I like going against the other team’s best player. I take it as a challenge.

“I was just trying to stay behind him. My teammates had great help defense. I just tried to keep him in front of me.”

Defense was the key for Neshannock. The Lancers’ full-court pressure kept Riverside off balance and forced the Panthers in numerous mistakes.

Still, Riverside outscored Neshannock, 11-4, in the third quarter and trailed by only four points, 32-28, going into the fourth quarter.

Neshannock crept away to a 37-28 lead but Riverside cut the advantage to seven on a layup with 5 minutes left.

Enter Neshannock senior Joe Iorio, who had missed games recently with an injury. Sansone got free for a layups with 4:40 remaining and Iorio followed with a pair of layups. That gave Neshannock a 45-32 lead with 2:41 left to play.

“We didn’t have Joe the last time we played Riverside,” Corey said. “It’s nice to have another big guy out there.”

And it was nice for the Lancers to have Corey back on the bench.

Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 17 11 4 19 0 51
Riverside 13 4 11 8 0 36
Box Scores
Dom Vetica 1 0-1 2
Bob Gould 2 0-2 4
Brent Mulneix 0 0-0 0
Tyler Falk 3 5-7 11
Gig Jewell 2 1-4 5
Austin Oberg 1 0-0 2
Dylan Jones 4 0-0 12
Damian Cicchinelli 0 0-0 0
Evan Williams 0 0-0 0
Totals: 13 6-14 36

Ernie Burkes 4 8-11 17
John Conglose 0 0-0 0
Joe Iorio 3 0-1 6
Anthony Van Eman 1 0-0 2
John Sansone 10 0-0 22
Matt McKinney 0 0-0 0
Connor Jones 0 0-0 0
Ethan McCarthy 0 0-0 0
Ty Haswell 0 4-4 4
Totals: 18 12-16 51

RIVERSIDE 13 4 11 8 — 36
NESHANNOCK 17 11 4 19 — 51

3-point goals — Riverside 4 (Jones 4); Neshannock 3 (Sansone 2, Burkes 1).
JV score: Neshannock 57, Riverside 34. High scorers: N — Matt McKinney 13.
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