Laurel boys sew up postseason bid
Shenango (50) Vs. Laurel (58)
Feb 01, 2014
The Laurel High boys basketball team is headed to the playoffs.

The visiting Spartans clinched at least a tie for fourth place in WPIAL Section 2-AA action, rallying for a 58-50 victory over Shenango last night.

Laurel (6-6 section, 11-8 overall) holds a two-game lead over Riverside (4-8, 7-12) for fourth place and hosts the Panthers on Tuesday. Riverside needs to win its final two section games and have the Spartans lose both of their contests to forge a tie for the final playoff berth. Both teams would move on if that takes place.

“It’s a great accomplishment and it was our goal coming into the season,” said Laurel coach Ken Locke, whose club last qualified for the playoffs during the 2009-2010 season. “We still have two games left. We’re happy to get in, but we’re not satisfied just being in the playoffs. We’re planning on winning some games.”

The loss eliminated Shenango (4-8, 8-11) from playoff contention. The Wildcats could still pull into a tie for fourth place with the Spartans, who hold the tiebreaker by sweeping both section battles. Shenango beat Laurel 59-42 in a tournament over Christmas break but isn’t included in the tiebreakers.

“This knocked us out of the playoffs,” Shenango coach Bob McQuiston said. “We had to win this to have a chance. This isn’t how you want it to end for the seniors. The playoffs are the reason why you come to the gym over the summer. I’m disappointed for the kids.

“You look back and try to see if you could’ve done things differently. No matter what you do it’s not coming back. You have to move on. Hopefully, the younger guys learn from our mistakes and build on it for next year.”

Shenango held an 11-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but couldn’t put the game away. The Wildcats made just 3 of 11 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, while Laurel was 13 of 17.

“The foul shooting was the difference in the game,” McQuiston said. “Those shots are difficult, but we have to make those shots at the line if we want to win games. Foul shooting has been our weakness all year.”

The Wildcats grabbed a 16-15 lead out of the gate and pushed it to 27-24 at the half. An 18-10 edge in the third quarter extended Shenango’s lead to 45-34 entering the final period.

“We didn’t play well over the first three quarters,” Locke said. “We’d been down before and we knew were capable of coming back. We told the kids to keep fighting. They never gave up and made some plays.

“We, as coaches, have believed in them and I think the guys are starting to believe in themselves.”

Jacob Wilson provided 20 points and eight rebounds for Laurel, while Mason Mraz tacked on 12 markers and eight caroms. Scott Siddall was next with 10 points and Josh Dando finished with seven points, nine boards, three steals and three assists.

“I know I’m repetitive when I say (Jacob Wilson) plays hard,” Locke said. “He lays it on the line every night and that’s what we love about him. We know he’s going to give 110 percent. He was a big factor.”

Locke credited his senior big men Kyle Forbes and Damian Steele for their efforts.

“They do stuff you won’t see in the paper,” Locke said. “They accept their roles and fight for everything when they’re in the game. The things they do make us the team we are.”

Brenton Booher led Shenango with 12 points, while Ryley Ferrari and Ryan Smith each contributed 11.

“We won every quarter, but the fourth and that’s the one that counts,” McQuiston said. “We rushed our shots and got out of what we were doing that was working.”
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Shenango 16 11 18 5 0 50
Laurel 15 9 10 24 0 58
Box Scores
Zachary Wilson 3 1-1 8
Josh Dando 2 3-4 7
Kyle Forbes 0 0-0 0
Noah Wertz 0 1-2 1
Damian Steele 0 0-0 0
Scott Siddall 3 4-5 10
Jacob Wilson 8 4-6 20
Mason Mraz 4 3-8 12
Totals: 20 16-26 58

Ryley Ferrari 4 2-10 11
Jake McMillen 2 0-0 4
Sam Sibeto 0 0-0 0
Ryan Smith 3 5-5 11
Brenton Booher 4 1-5 12
Christian O’Hara 1 0-0 3
James Micco 2 2-4 6
Rocco Fiorilli 1 0-0 3
Totals: 17 10-24 50

LAUREL 15 9 10 24 — 58
SHENANGO 16 11 18 5 — 50

3-point goals — Laurel 2 (Z. Wilson 1, Mraz 1), Shenango 6 (Booher 3, Fiorilli 1, O’Hara 1, Ferrari 1).
JV score: Laurel 40, Shenango 36. High scorer: S — Christian O’Hara 15; L — Jordan Dantico 13, Coltin Esposito 11.
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