Neshannock earns WPIAL Section 2-AA playoff berth
Neshannock (67) Vs. New Brighton (62)
Feb 02, 2013
By Andrew Petyak
New Castle News

The Neshannock High boys basketball team is heading to the WPIAL playoffs.

The visiting Lancers clinched their sixth straight playoff berth by outlasting Section 2-AA rival New Brighton in overtime, 67-62.

“Any win is a great win, especially a section win this late in the season,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.”

Neshannock (8-4 section, 15-4 overall) struggled shooting the ball through the first two quarters. The Lions’ Scott Shields was dominant from 3-point range, notching four on the game in giving New Brighton a 26-23 halftime lead. In the first half, the Lancers shot a combined 13 of 40 from the field and were just 1 of 12 shooting from behind the arc.

Trailing 37-31 deep into the third, Neshannock’s Matt McKinney jump-started the offense by drilling three-straight 3-pointers to put the visitors ahead.

“The guys were just setting good picks. They’ve been doing that all year,” McKinney said. “I wasn’t hitting them earlier in the game, but ended up hitting them when we needed me to. I was getting good looks earlier, I just wasn’t finishing them.”

McKinney posted 14 points, including four 3-pointers. In the first half, he shot 1 of 6 from 3-point range, but finished the game going 3 of 4 from behind the arc.

“Matt hit some huge 3-pointers for us in that third quarter,” Corey said. “As much as we like to camouflage it, we’re a shooting team. When we’re shooting well, it makes up for a lot of other mistakes. When we’re not shooting well, we really have to dig in and be tough each and every single possession.

“That shooting in the first half is not going to cut it. We keep trying to stress to these guys that our defense has to convert some easy buckets at the other end. That’s what supplements when we’re having an off shooting night — defensive pressure and getting some deflections and steals. We just have to keep working and getting better.”

The Lancers’ Tyler Haswell played a physical game inside with New Brighton’s Chris Pipkins, with Haswell notching 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds.

“We played great as a team,” Haswell said. “I believe we had three or four people in double digits. Pipkin is a strong kid, and I got in front of him and tried to deny him in the post as much as I could.”

The teams traded the lead for the rest of regulation, heading into extra frames tied at 55.

After an emotional letdown in a 95-87 section loss to Aliquippa on Tuesday, Neshannock didn’t want to repeat the act for the second time in a week.

“Against Aliquippa, I don’t think we came out and played to our full potential,” Haswell said. “This is a great comeback and bounce back. Coach always says he wants to see how we react (to losses), and I think we responded pretty well.”

Neshannock’s Ernie Burkes put the game away with a minute left in overtime, nailing both of his free-throw opportunities with his team leading by one. Burkes paced the Lancers with 26 points, including 6-of-7 shooting from the foul line. Burkes scored 16 of his 26 points in the second half.

New Brighton (5-7, 12-8) still is in playoff contention, having to win out and hope for losses from Mohawk and Aliquippa. Shields and Kaleb Williams led the Lions with 14 points apiece. Craig Thompson followed with 10.

Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 15 8 18 14 12 67
New Brighton 10 16 13 16 7 62
Box Scores
Ernie Burkes 9 6-7 26
Matt McKinney 4 2-2 14
Tyler Haswell 7 2-4 16
Matt Seltzer 3 1-2 7
Jim Medure 1 0-0 2
Clay Kemerer 0 0-0 0
Ethan Moose 1 0-0 2
Totals: 25 11-15 67

Scott Shields 5 0-1 14
DiQuan Ambrose 4 0-3 8
Craig Thompson 4 1-2 10
Kaleb Williams 6 2-2 14
Chris Pipkin 4 0-2 8
Gabe Greco 0 1-3 1
Blaine Williams 2 0-0 5
Zeph Rombold 0 0-0 0
Kurtis Williams 1 0-0 2
Totals: 26 4-13 62

NESHANNOCK 15 8 18 14 12— 67
NEW BRIGHTON 10 16 13 16 7 — 62

3-point goals — Neshannock 6 (Burkes 2, McKinney 4); New Brighton 6 (Thompson 1, Shields 4, B. Williams 1).
JV score: Neshannock 38, New Brighton 35. High scorer: N — Jim Medure 11.

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