PIAA Playoffs: West Middlesex ousts Lancers
West Middlesex (76) Vs. Neshannock (66)
Mar 10, 2014
By Shawn Fox
New Castle News

SLIPPERY ROCK — Neshannock was able to handle just about anything West Middlesex had Saturday night.

The Lancers, however, had no answer for Trey Staunch.

The Big Reds’ burly 6-foot-3 forward spearheaded his team’s inside attack with 31 points and a whopping 21 rebounds as the District 10 champs knocked off Neshannock, 76-66, in the first round of the PIAA Class AA boys basketball playoffs at Slippery Rock University’s Morrow Field House.

“Staunch is a very good player,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “We just didn’t have an answer. We were down three at the half and we tried to juggle our defenses and mix things up to stop him, but he’s so freaking strong. We knew that he was going to impose his will down there.

“I was proud of our effort,” he continued. “A possession here or a possession there early on might have turned it the other way.”

West Middlesex (21-5) will face Greensburg Central Catholic, a 92-59 winner over Bald Eagle Area, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at North Allegheny. The Centurions, the WPIAL runners-up, improved to 23-3.

“It’s about surviving right now, because obviously you lose and you go home,” West Middlesex coach Chad Mild said. “Neshannock was very competitive. We knew coming in tonight we were going to have our hands full. They were as good as anybody we played all year. It took 32 minutes to beat them tonight.”

While the Big Reds did most of their damage in the contest in the paint, they opened the game with a 3-pointer from Christian Porterfield. Matt McKinney answered for the Lancers with a three from the right wing.

An inside hoop by Staunch and two free throws by Josh Porterfield gave West Middlesex a 7-3 lead at the 5:51 mark. But, Neshannock got buckets from Matt Seltzer and McKinney to tie things at 7-all less than a minute later.

The teams traded baskets before Staunch’s lay-in gave the Big Reds a 13-11 lead late in the quarter.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but that’s a pretty typical game for Trey,” Mild said of his star’s big night. “He’s a competitor. In a big game, I knew he was going to come to play. I felt we had a little bit of size on those guys tonight.”

Ethan Moose cut the deficit to 13-12 at the end of one by hitting the second of two free throws after being fouled by Christian Porterfield.

Two Staunch free throws opened the second quarter before Ernie Burkes drew the Lancers to within a point again by scoring off a drive.

West Middlesex outscored Neshannock, 12-6 over the next four minutes, thanks in part to a pair of threes from Isaac Williams, to take a 30-20 lead and force the Lancers to call a timeout.

The Lancers responded out of the timeout, outscoring the Big Reds, 12-6, over the next three minutes to draw to within four points, 36-32.

Christian Porterfield’s basket hiked the West Middlesex lead back to six points, before Moose gave the Lancers a lift heading into the locker room. Moose let loose a 3-pointer from the top of the opposite key. The 70-footer tickled the twine as the horn sounded, cutting the West Middlesex lead to 38-35 at the half.

“We were in a ton of foul trouble in the first half, so going into the locker room down three gave us some momentum,” Corey said.

Burkes’ runner opened the third quarter and made it a one-point game. But, a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays on putbacks by Josh Porterfield and Staunch put the Big Reds up, 46-39, less than three minutes into the stanza.

Neshannock, the WPIAL's seventh seed, was able to trim the deficit to four points, 51-47, at the end of three on a pull-up jumper by Moose.

Moose’s putback following a Williams jumper again got the Lancers to within four points, but they would get no closer. West Middlesex scored the next seven points on inside hoops by Josh Porterfield and Staunch, and a trey from Williams.

West Middlesex held a 25-19 edge in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

“They really maximize their possessions with the style they play,” Corey said. “It’s a very good team. They’ve got great bigs, and their guards are playing really well.”

Burkes led a quartet of Lancers scoring in double figures with 15 points. Moose added 14, McKinney 13 and Ty Haswell 10.

Williams chipped in with 21 points for the Big Reds. Josh Porterfield finished with 15. West Middlesex held a 39-24 edge in rebounds.

Neshannock wrapped up its season at 18-7.

“We returned everybody, so obviously our expectations were very high,” Corey said. “A lot of the goals we set — WPIAL champions, state champions, getting a 20-win season — we fell short of. But, that’s nothing against the young men I’ve got in that locker room right now. There were definitely some ups and downs. Unless you’ve got a state championship trophy over your head, it’s always going to end too soon.”

It was the final game for Lancers seniors McKinney, Burkes, Haswell, Seltzer, Marcus Giangiuli and Fred Mozzocio.

“We have a great group of seniors,” Corey said. “Over the years they all contributed. I hate to see them go. A great group of kids.”
Nightly Roundup
Mar 10, 2014 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
West Middlesex 13 25 13 25 0 76
Neshannock 12 23 12 19 0 66
Box Scores
Matt McKinney 4 3-4 13
Ernie Burkes 5 4-4 15
Ty Haswell 4 2-3 10
Matt Seltzer 1 2-2 4
Ethan Moose 5 3-4 14
Jimmy Medure 3 0-0 6
Marcus Giangiuli 1 0-0 2
Frank Antuono 1 0-0 2.
Totals: 24 14-17 66.

Ryan Dogan 0 1-2 1
Josh Porterfield 5 5-5 15
Isaac Williams 6 6-6 21
Trey Staunch 11 9-10 31
Christian Porterfield 3 0-0 8
Andrew Long 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 25 21-23 76
NESHANNOCK 12 23 12 19 — 66
WEST MIDDLESEX 13 25 13 25 — 76
3-point goals — Neshannock 4 (McKinney 2, Burkes 1, Moose 1), West Middlesex 5 (Williams 3, C. Porterfield 2).
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