Wertz’s trey lifts Laurel to win over Riverside
Laurel (66) Vs. Riverside (65)
Jan 11, 2014
Laurel’s Noah Wertz waited all night for his first basket.

The Spartans’ junior made it count when the shot finally did go in.

Wertz drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Laurel to a 66-65 WPIAL, Section 2-AA victory over host Riverside last night.

“It was a great high school basketball game,” Spartans coach Ken Locke said. “That was a great ending to a great game. Fortunately for us, we were on the right side. Luckily, we had the last shot and it went in.

“It’s unfortunate that someone had to lose. We’re happy to win. We feel bad for them, but we’ll take the win.”

Laurel (3-3, 7-5) had the ball under its basket with 1.5 seconds left when Zachary Wilson sent a long inbounds pass to Josh Dando, who redirected the pass to Wertz for the game-winner.

“That’s a play we run a lot at the end of quarters and at the end of games,” Locke said. “It was the same play we ran (in a 61-57 loss to) New Brighton. It didn’t go in then. Sometimes, you need a little luck and tonight, it was on our side.”

Riverside’s Zach Gould connected on a pair of freebies with 20 seconds left to put the Panthers up 64-63 and after Mason Mraz misfired on a 3-pointer with eight ticks left, Logan Sheridan’s free throw with 4.3 seconds on the clock made it a two-point game.

The Spartans were able to erase an 18-11 first quarter deficit by outscoring Riverside 39-27 over the second and third quarters.

“They came out and played well,” Locke said. “We had good shots and couldn’t get them to fall. To their credit, they were able to get a lead on us. We came back and had a seven-point lead in the third quarter. We just couldn’t put it away. It was a crazy game. It was back and forth, back and forth.”

Freshman Mason Mraz led Laurel with a team-high 23 points, while Scott Siddall had 17 tallies. Zach Wilson pulled down a team-high 16 rebounds.

“Zach was struggling and didn’t play one of his better games,” Locke said. “He still played hard, though, and got us 16 rebounds. You could tell he was frustrated and had some great rebounds. He kept at it. That’s why he’s one of our leaders. We needed him and he stepped up for us. We know what (Mason) is capable of. He’s playing well for us. He some big shots. He’s a special kid and is doing some special things right now.

“We were struggling a little bit and (Siddall) sparked us in the second quarter. He had a huge second quarter for us and was very, very crucial to our success. He hit a shot and we went back to him. After that, our guys tried to find him and he got on a roll. In the second half, they did a nice job on him, but it allowed other guys to step up for us.”

Locke credited reserves Kyle Forbes and Damian Steele for their efforts.

“Kyle Forbes and Damian Steele came off the bench and stepped up in some crucial situations,” the Laurel coach said. “They don’t score a lot of points, but got some huge rebounds and were able to tie guys up. They came in and did what we needed them to do. They’re not selfish at all. They played their role and were vital to our success.”

Gould pumped in a game-high 31 points, while Sheridan tacked on 18.

“Gould and Sheridan are special players,” Locke said. “We knew they were their main guys. Our game plan was to shut them down. We had guys all over them, but Gould was still able to make shots.”

The win — its fifth straight — pulled Laurel into fourth place in the section behind Neshannock (5-1, 10-2), Beaver Falls (5-1, 9-3) and Aliquippa (5-1, 7-4). Riverside (2-4, 5-8) and Shenango (2-4, 4-7) are a game back.

“We tell the guys that we need them to believe in themselves,” Locke said. “I’m confident in their ability and they know anyone can step up for us on any given night.”
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Laurel 11 24 15 16 0 66
Riverside 18 14 13 20 0 65
Box Scores
Zachary Wilson 2 3-4 7
Josh Dando 1 0-2 2
Kyle Forbes 0 1-2 1
Noah Wertz 1 3-4 6
Damian Steele 0 0-0 0
Scott Siddall 7 0-0 17
Jacob Wilson 4 1-1 10
Mason Mraz 10 1-1 23
Totals: 25 9-14 66

Zach Gould 9 12-12 31
Dillon Speicher 1 4-5 6
Ross Maietta 3 2-2 8
Jared Harden 0 0-0 0
Colby Wolf 0 2-2 2
Logan Sheridan 6 6-10 18
Jason Dambaugh 0 0-0 0
Austin Sheridan 0 0-0 0
Clay Whitlatch 0 0-0 0
Totals: 19 26-31 65

LAUREL 11 24 15 16 — 66
RIVERSIDE 18 14 13 20 — 65

3-point goals — Laurel 7 (Siddall 3, Mraz 2, Wertz 1, Wilson 1), Riverside 1 (Gould 1).
JV score: Riverside 51, Laurel 28. High scorer: L — Colton Esposito 9, Tucker Skerbetz 9.
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