Defense, Chieze spark Wildcats
Shenango (51) Vs. Laurel (39)
Feb 01, 2012
By Dan Irwin
New Castle News

This time, Shenango pulled the inside job.

In the season’s first WPIAL Section 2-AA meeting between the Wildcats and Riverside, the Panthers’ two big men, Gig Jewell and Tyler Falk, combined for 42 points to help their team claim a three-point win.

But in last night’s rematch at Riverside, Shenango cut the pair’s production nearly in half — the two managed just 23 points between them — and the Wildcats took over sole possession of second place with a 51-39 win.

The triumph — combined with Mohawk’s loss to Summit Academy — also clinched a playoff berth for Shenango (7-3, 12-6). Riverside (5-4, 10-9) dropped into a third-place tie with Neshannock.

The Wildcats now have won five in a row, including two straight over teams that had beaten them during the first half of section play. They also snapped a five-game losing streak against the Panthers. 

Shenango entered last night’s game determined to control the 6-foot-5 Jewell, who had 27 points in the teams’ first match-up. Jewell managed 18 markers this time around, but had only 11 by the time Shenango built a 38-25 lead early in the fourth quarter.

“Gig’s a good player and he kind of got the best of us the first time,” Shenango head coach Bob McQuiston said. “Our goal was to shut him down tonight. Last time they (Falk and Jewell) had 15 and 27 against us, and my guys took it personal.

“I don’t know what he (Jewell) ended up with, but the ones he did get, he had to work for. I take my hat off to our big guys — (Mike) Linz, (Dance) Gecina, (Jeff) Williams and (Brian) Tanner. I think they really busted their hump in the paint tonight.”

Although Falk had a game-high 12 rebounds, he never did get going offensively, finishing with just five points. Jewell, though, padded his scoring total by sparking an 11-3 rally in the final stanza, pulling the Panthers to within 41-36 with 2:43 to go. Jewell had five of those points.

Shenango’s only points during that same span was a trey nailed by senior Brett Chieze, but the senior guard halted the Panthers’ uprising by hitting two more 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, rebuilding the Wildcats’ advantage to 47-36 with two minutes remaining. He also went 4-for-4 from the foul line down the stretch, finishing with 25 points, including six 3-pointers.

Meanwhile, the only points Riverside could manage over the final 2 ? minutes came on a Falk free throw with 55 seconds left and a Jewell bucket 23 ticks later.

“They were trapping us and I was the open man,” Chieze said of his big fourth quarter. “All my teammates found me and I just hit them. I’m a senior, a three-year starter, I had to step up.”

He credited his team’s big men with doing the same.

“Mike, Dane Gecina off the bench, they all came in and stopped them, pushed them out, didn’t let them get a good spot on the block,” Chieze said. “That’s what helped us get the victory.”

Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Shenango 7 13 13 18 0 51
Laurel 7 12 6 14 0 39
Box Scores
Brett Chieze 7 5-5 25
Jordan O’Hara 2 0-0 4
Jeff Williams 4 0-0 10
Mike Linz 2 1-2 5
Greg DePorzio 2 0-0 5
Vinny Fiorilli 0 0-0 0
Brian Tanner 0 0-0 0
Pat Lunn 0 2-2 2
Dane Gecina 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 17 8-9 51.

Dom Vetica 2 0-0 5
Bob Gould 0 0-0 0
Brent Mulneix 3 0-0 8
Tyler Falk 1 3-6 5
Gig Jewell 7 4-9 18
Dylan Jones 1 0-0 3
Damian Cicchinelli 0 0-0 0
William Evans 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 14 7-15 39.

SHENANGO 7 13 13 18 — 51
RIVERSIDE 7 12 6 14 — 39

3-point goals — Shenango 9 (Chieze 6, Williams 2, DePorzio 1), Riverside 4 (Mulneix 2, Vetica 1, Jones 1).
JV score: Shenango 26, Riverside 24. High scorer: S — James Jacobs 9.

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