Beaver Falls races past Lancers
Beaver Falls (67) Vs. Neshannock (51)
Feb 24, 2014
By Shawn Fox
New Castle News

AMBRIDGE — It certainly wasn’t the start the Neshannock High boys basketball team was hoping for Saturday afternoon against Beaver Falls.

Things didn’t get much better the rest of the game for the Lancers.

Fourth-seeded Beaver Falls raced out to a 20-5 lead after one quarter and never looked back, as it knocked off fifth-seeded Neshannock, 67-51, in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs at Ambridge High School.

“At this point in the season, you’re not going to win game when you fall behind like that,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “We got behind the eight ball and as much as you fight, it’s hard to come back.”

The Tigers (18-6) avenged a pair of Section 2-AA losses to the Lancers earlier this season.

“I thought we played very well,” Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega said. “We played better than we did the previous two times, quite obviously just looking at the score. But it was the way we played. Our defense was very intense and physical. We didn’t let them eat us up on the glass. And, our offense was efficient.”

Beaver Falls opened the game with a 9-1 run on baskets by Branden Thomas, Javon Turner and Donovan Jeter and a 3-pointer by Dan Stratton.

Neshannock, which got a free throw from Ty Haswell in the early going to account for its only point, finally got its first field goal of the game when Matt McKinney sank a jumper at the 3:54 mark.

The Tigers closed out the opening stanza with an 11-2 run. Turner’s old-fashioned three-point play gave Beaver Falls a 15-point cushion at the end of one.

“We started the game and in that first quarter we probably had seven or eight unforced turnovers,” Corey said. “The two times we played them during the season, we really took good care of the basketball and we were very disciplined. Today, we just gave them way too many easy opportunities. Those turnovers really did us in from the beginning.”

The Lancers were able to cut the deficit to 10 points, 22-12, with 2:44 remaining before the half on buckets from McKinney, Ethan Moose and Haswell, and a foul shot from Ernie Burkes.

But, the Tigers outscored the Lancers, 10-3, over the final two minutes of the quarter to take a 32-15 lead at the half.

“You can’t understate that good start,” Biega said. “It’s always good to get off to a good start because you’re going to play under control with a nice cushion.”

Beaver Falls took its largest lead of the game, 49-22, on Turner’s free throw at the 1:54 mark of the third quarter following a flagrant foul by Burkes.

“We kind of prepared a little better this time, to be quite honest with you,” Biega said. “We face-guarded (Burkes and McKinney), and took their perimeter game away. We sagged off with our bigs in the lane and took away a lot from the ball action. And then Danny guarded Moose straight up. So, we basically had three different types of defense all at once going on. We could only design a game plan, the kids had to execute it, and I thought they did phenomenally well today.”

The Lancers were able to cut the deficit to 16 points — 60-44 — with 3:17 remaining in the contest on a pair of free throws from Burkes, but would get no closer.

Burkes paced Neshannock with 15 points. McKinney added 11 points, while Haswell and Moose had nine points and six rebounds apiece.

Turner led the Tigers with 19 points, while Keyan Gibson added 16 and Stratton had 14. Josh Creach grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

Neshannock (18-6) must now wait until the WPIAL postseason wraps up before seeing if it has a game in the state playoffs. Class AA will advance seven teams to the PIAA tournament, which tips off March 8.

“We’ve just got to stay focused and stay prepared,” Corey said. “The opportunity of getting into the state tournament is definitely a real one for us.”

Beaver Falls, the two-time defending WPIAL champs and defending state champions, will meet top-seeded Seton-LaSalle in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Wednesday at West Allegheny High School. The Rebels advanced with a 76-56 victory over Summit Academy on Saturday.
Nightly Roundup
Feb 24, 2014 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Beaver Falls 20 12 21 14 0 67
Neshannock 5 10 13 23 0 51
Box Scores
Ernie Burkes 3 8-11 15
Matt McKinney 5 0-0 11
Ethan Moose 4 0-0 9
Matt Seltzer 2 1-1 5
Ty Haswell 2 5-8 9
Jimmy Medure 1 0-0 2
Fred Mozzocio 0 0-0 0
Marcus Giangiuli 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 17 14-20 51.

Javon Turner 7 5-7 19
Spencer Alceus 0 0-0 0
Dan Stratton 3 7-8 14
Josh Creach 2 3-5 7
Donovan Jeter 1 0-0 2
Branden Thomas 4 1-3 9
Keyan Gibson 6 0-0 16
Neshaud Akins 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 23 16-23 67.
NESHANNOCK 5 10 13 23 — 51
BEAVER FALLS 20 12 21 14 — 67
3-point goals — Neshannock 3 (McKinney 1, Burkes 1, Moose 1), Beaver Falls 5 (Gibson 4, Stratton 1).

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