Lakers’ defense baffles ’Hounds
Wilmington (15) Vs. Mercyhurst Prep (57)
Feb 25, 2012
New Castle News

Wilmington High coach Mike Jeckavitch knew a lot about the Mercyhurst Prep Lakers coming into to their playoff matchup.

He received plenty of information from teams who played them, including Shenango and Neshannock, and he watched hours of game film in preparation.

But nothing could have braced Jeckavitch for the performance the Lakers put on in the first round of the District 10 Class AA playoffs last night.

A swarming Mercyhurst Prep defense stifled the Greyhounds in a 57-15 victory at Edinboro University’s McComb Fieldhouse.

Wilmington shot just 5 for 35 from the field, didn’t have a player score more than four points and couldn’t slow down the Lakers (21-2) as they enjoyed one of their best overall games of the season.

“They’re just really a disciplined team, defensively,” Jeckavitch said. “They apply a tremendous amount of ball pressure with their man-to-man defense, and they switched on every screen.

“Plus, we really shot ourselves in the foot. We were 5 for 35 for the game shooting, and we missed 10 uncontested layups. So, it was combination of both, us missing shots and them playing good defense.”

Mercyhurst Prep jumped out to a 10-0 lead before Wilmington’s Rocco Fagan drained a 3-pointer. The Greyhounds (9-14) moved with 13-6 midway through the first quarter, but the Lakers closed out the half with an 20-2 run that gave them a 33-8 advantage at the break.

“I don’t know that we’ve shot the ball that well all season,” Mercyhurst Prep coach Sean Baer said. “The amount of 3s that we had in the first half was probably our best output of the year.”

The Lakers’ man-to-man defense was even more impressive. They wouldn’t allow any penetration by speedy Wilmington point guard Anthony Derrick, who led the Greyhounds with four points. That forced the Greyhounds into long possessions that resulted in tough, contested jump shots, Baer said. It also negated any type of offensive rhythm for Wilmington, a team that thrives off of Derrick’s driving ability.

“They got up on us in the first quarter, and they can gamble more, defensively, when they’re up by that much,” Jeckavitch said. “It seemed like every call they made was the right one. They probably shot 75 percent tonight, and that’s not an exaggeration. I’d be surprised if they missed five or six shots, and most of their looks were contested.

“Our kids didn’t bow down, but we were just overmatched tonight.”

Sam Corritore came off the bench to lead the Lakers with 14 points. He hit one of their five first-half 3-pointers, including four in the first quarter. Alex Borges, a 6-foot-5 forward, added 12 points for Mercyhurst Prep, which held Wilmington scoreless in the fourth quarter and allowed just seven second-half points.

“We always set small goals after each game,” Baer said. “And this time it was to play our best game of the year in the first round, and it’s hard to argue that this wasn’t our best game.”

Nightly Roundup
Feb 25, 2012 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Wilmington 6 2 7 0 0 15
Mercyhurst Prep 18 15 14 10 0 57
Box Scores
Anthony Derrick 2 0-0 4
Vince Pitzulo 0 0-0 0
Matt Bowen 1 0-0 3
Jesse Hilliard 1 0-0 2
Rocco Fagan 1 0-0 3
Ryan Crawford 0 0-0 0
Jordan Smith 1 1-1 3
Tekac 0 0-2 0
Coulter 0 0-0 0
Totals: 6 1-3 15

Casey Shelton 2 0-0 6
Anthony Malone 2 0-0 5
Carl Anderson 2 2-2 6
Alex Borges 5 1-2 12
Steve Wagner 3 0-0 7
Sam Corritore 7 0-0 14
Matt Williams 1 2-2 4
Josh Bojewski 1 0-0 2
Alex Johnson 0 1-2 1
Totals: 16 6-8 57

WILMINGTON 6 2 7 0 — 15
MERCYHURST PREP 18 15 14 10 — 57

3-point goals — Wilmington 2 (Bowen 1, Fagan 1), MP 5 (Shelton 2, Malone 1, Borges 1, Wagner 1).
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