Sager shows talent, grit in Warriors’ win
Mohawk (58) Vs. Aliquippa (50)
Jan 12, 2013
By Andrew Petyak
New Castle News

The Ryan Sager story just added another chapter.

Mohawk High’s emerging guard registered 20 points in a 58-50 WPIAL Section 2-AA victory over visiting Aliquippa last night.

Sager extended his streak of scoring at least 20 points to three games — and he did it in dramatic fashion.

Deep in the second quarter, Sager drove strong to the net and landed awkwardly on the court. A hush went over the shocked crowd as he lay clutching his knee in pain.

“I planted on my right foot. I just came down on it and heard a pop. I felt a pop in my knee,” Sager said. “It was so sore to the point where I couldn’t even move. It was so stiff.”

Mohawk (4-2 section, 6-6 overall) struggled to find a rhythm for the remainder of the half, as the Quips erased a nine-point deficit to take a 30-28 advantage heading into the locker room.

“We became a little bit deflated after his injury,” Warriors coach Rob Fadden said. “It hurts when he goes down and we got Lucas Grim on the bench with foul trouble at that point too. Every time it seemed like we got a little bit of breathing room, we’d commit turnovers where they would knock down a shot.”

Mohawk turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and had a total of 26 for the game.

With the start of the second half, Sager emerged from the locker room to warm up with his teammates.

“I started running back in the training room and loosened my knee up,” he said. “I came back out and was ready to play.”

The Warriors went on a 13-2 run to start the second half as forward Vince Menichino bullied Aliquippa inside the paint. Menichino scored 12 of his 16 points in the final two quarters.

“It was physical out there. That’s what we like,” Menichino said. “I couldn’t have done it without Ryan Sager, passing up the ball while he’s in the air, doing what he does best. I couldn’t have done it without the team.”

Fadden added that the contributions from Menichino have been a big plus for his squad this season.

“He put some time in this summer, and I’m glad that it’s really paying off for him,” he said. “We are hoping to get 6 to 10 points from him, but when we get games like this from him, it’s a real bonus.”

Aliquippa (3-3, 3-7) ended the third quarter with a run of its own, tying the score at 43-43.

“I told the team to just keep doing what they’re doing,” Fadden said. “If we just hang in there, we’ll be able to pull it out.”

Grim, who finished the game with nine points, set the tempo of the final frame by shooting a crucial 3-pointer.

“People look at the box score the last couple games and see that he’s not scoring points. If we don’t have him in, we’re struggling to get the ball past halfcourt,” Fadden said. “He’s taken a lot of heat for the last few games, and he’s handled it very well.”

Sager closed the book on the Quips with reliable free-throw shooting. He finished the game a perfect 7 of 7 from the line — nothing new for those who watch him in practice.

“We had a free-throw competition during practice,” he said. “I made 95 out of 100 free throws. I always try to make all of them.”

Aggressive drives to the basket have been a signature to Sager’s play over the last three games. He scored nine of his 20 points after the injury.

“I always look to take it to the hole. The coaches and the whole team talk about how I should be driving to the hoop,” Sager said. “That’s my main goal. That’s what I do best.”

The Warriors have gone 2-1 in section play in their last three games, but Fadden says he won’t be doing any scoreboard watching anytime soon.

“It’s early enough where we really don’t have to be watching what other people are doing,” he said. “If we take care of games on our own right now, we don’t have to worry about that.”

Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Mohawk 16 12 15 15 0 58
Aliquippa 11 19 13 7 0 50
Box Scores
Dravon Henry 6 1-4 13
Jyler Turner 1 0-0 2
Malik Stewart 5 3-4 14
Deonte Robinson 5 0-2 10
Dajon Perry 1 0-0 2
Jaleel Fields 1 1-2 3
Xavier Coleman 0 0-0 0
Malik Shegog 0 0-0 0
Darrian Fields 2 1-1 6
Traevon Key 0 0-2 0
Totals: 21 6-15 50

Lucas Grim 4 0-0 9
Saivon Watt 2 0-0 5
Vince Menichino 8 0-1 16
Travis Giardina 0 0-0 0
John Hartzell 0 1-2 1
Ryan Sager 6 7-7 20
Jonathan Grim 3 1-2 7
Shane McFarland 0 0-0 0
Totals: 23 9-12 58

ALIQUIPPA 11 19 13 7 — 50
MOHAWK 16 12 15 15 — 58

3-point goals — Aliquippa 2 (D. Fields 1, Stewart 1); Mohawk 3 (L. Grim 1, Watt 1, Sager 1).
JV score: Aliquippa won.
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