Panthers flip switch on Mohawk
Mohawk (37) Vs. Riverside (50)
Feb 04, 2012
By Joe Simon
New Castle News

There weren’t any secrets coming into Mohawk High’s showdown with Riverside.

Both teams knew each other well, and they understood how to slow down and attack their opponent.

Or, so they thought.

Riverside flipped its switch, and a team almost solely reliant on its post players made eight 3-pointers and pulled away with a dominant fourth quarter to beat the Warriors, 50-37, in a crucial WPIAL Section 2-AA matchup on Mohawk’s home court.

The Panthers (6-4 section, 11-9 overall) snapped a four-game losing streak and secured a playoff berth with the win. Mohawk (4-6, 9-10) remains in fifth place, a game behind Neshannock for the fourth and final playoff spot.

The Warriors ended up in that position despite carrying out their game plan.

“We succeeded in what we were trying to do, and that was not let them beat us in the interior because last time we played, they did beat us in the interior,” Mohawk coach Rob Fadden said. “The kids knew what was on the line — they were excited and ready to go. It wasn’t a lack of effort, it was more a lack of execution.”

The lacking came in the Warriors’ inability to adjust to Riverside’s offense.

Mohawk started the game in a zone defense, which worked well to frustrate the Panthers’ inside game. But Riverside found its shooting touch early, making four 3s in the first half, and yet the Warriors continued to give them open looks.

“Tonight they got some guys that shot well, obviously, because they knocked down eight 3s,” Fadden said. “We didn’t do too well responding to that and locating the guys who were knocking down the 3s.”

Dylan Jones of Riverside was the main culprit. He nailed four 3s and finished with a team-high 14 points. Still, Mohawk was able to match the Panthers’ offensive output with balanced scoring. Tim Glass led with 14 points, while Jonathan Grim added nine, Lucas Grim posted eight and Jimmy Gerazounis contributed six.

The scoring started to pick up in the third. Gerazounis gave the Warriors their first lead of the second half with a 3-pointer to make it 28-26 with 2:15 remaining. But Riverside countered with three shots from downtown to take a three-point lead into the fourth quarter.

“We figured they would be playing a zone because that’s what they’ve been playing their last few games, and it’s worked for them,” Riverside coach John Rorick said. “And we knew that we had to make some shots, and hopefully we could get enough of a lead that they would have to come out and play us man to man, but they played really well. It was a very well-played game on both ends.”

Unfortunately for the Warriors, their scoring came to a screeching halt in the fourth quarter. The Panthers started the fourth up 35-32, but went on a 10-1 run in the first five and a half minutes and sealed the win by making 10 of 15 free throws. Mohawk took just 4 free throws the entire game, sinking three of them.

“They did a good job defensively with their game plan, as far as sagging in and not allowing us to get any looks on the interior,” Fadden said of the fourth quarter. “And we just weren’t knocking down shots.”

The early advantage of the Panthers applied some pressure to Mohawk, which came into the game in a near must-win situation. The Warriors must now win out and hope for some help to secure a playoff berth.

“We were able to push that lead out, and then the pressure starts to swing a little bit,” Rorick said. “When you get down by five, six points, then it gets a little tougher to shoot the ball. As that lead goes out, then they know offensively that every possession counts, and they weren’t making shots, so the pressure just mounts and mounts.”

Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Mohawk 5 14 13 5 0 37
Riverside 8 13 14 15 0 50
Box Scores
Dom Vetica 2 1-2 7
Damian Cicchinelli 0 0-0 0
Dylan Jones 4 2-2 14
Bob Gould 1 0-1 2
Brent Mulneix 3 3-6 11
Tyler Falk 4 5-5 13
Gig Jewell 1 1-2 3
Totals: 15 12-18 50

Lucas Grim 2 3-4 8
Vince Menichino 0 0-0 0
Jimmy Gerazounis 2 0-0 6
Jonathan Grim 4 0-0 9
Tim Glass 7 0-0 14
Tyler Radar 0 0-0 0
John Hartzell 0 0-0 0
Totals: 15 3-4 37

RIVERSIDE 8 13 14 15 — 50
MOHAWK 5 14 13 5 — 37

3-point goals — Riverside 8 (Vetica 2, Mulneix 2, Jones 4), Mohawk 4 (J. Grim 1, L. Grim 1, Gerazounis 2).
JV score: Mohawk 46, Riverside 31. High scorer: M — Travis Giardina 20.
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