Laurel comes up short against Greensburg Central C
Greensburg Central Catholic (61) Vs. Laurel (53)
Feb 19, 2015
By Andrew Koob
New Castle News

MONROEVILLE — The Laurel High boys basketball team had a win within its grasp last night.

With a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Spartans had the advantage that could have propelled them into the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals.

Then the wheels fell off.

No. 4 seed Greensburg Central Catholic hit three consecutive 3-pointers in the final quarter and was able to hold onto a 61-53 victory over 13th-seeded Laurel.

The Spartans (16-8) were outscored 20-11 in the fourth quarter and were held to just three field goals in the final eight minutes, two of them with less than 15 seconds remaining.

“It’s very simple. I thought our guys played hard for four quarters. They played as hard as they could, I couldn’t ask for more on that end. We just didn’t make enough plays,” Laurel coach Ken Locke said. “In the fourth quarter, they just made more plays than us. They made a couple of threes in the corner, guys that didn’t make them early on. You have to give them credit for that, but I feel for our guys because I think we played well enough to win. I thought they did everything we asked them to do.

“Very simply, in the last four minutes, we just didn’t make any plays.”

Laurel had its opportunities from the free-throw line to mount a comeback, but couldn’t generate any momentum. The Spartans shot 4-of-9 from the charity stripe, including 1-of-4 after a technical foul and shooting foul that could have brought the deficit down to one point.

“We shot 71 percent from the free-throw line for the year,” Locke said. “I don’t know if there’s another team around that shot 71 percent but, tonight, we didn’t. At the end of the day, that’ll usually do it to you.”

The Centurions (20-2) held a size advantage over Laurel, boasting three players in the lineup listed at 6-foot-4. Laurel was able to collapse in the paint, but was forced to leave open shooters on the outside.

Those open shots were still there throughout the game and, in the fourth quarter, Greensburg Central started to capitalize.

“We started making a couple of threes, they were really sagging on defense, taking away our inside game and it opened up our outside game,” Greensburg Central coach Greg Bisignani said. “We missed some looks and some open threes, but we made a couple in the second half.”

Added Locke, “On the two big guys, we were (collapsing). Not really on the guards or Romano (Sebastiani). We just lost them a couple of times. They created a little bit of penetration and our guys had to help. It left those guys in the corner and, to their credit, they made those big threes.”

Mason Mraz led all scorers with 23 points, while Noah Wertz added 12 in his final game with the Spartans.

Yet it was Laurel’s frontcourt that held the Centurions bigs to a combined 14 points that garnered the most praise from Locke.

“It could be anybody’s night,” Locke said. “He (Mraz) picked it up, but you have to look at the overall picture. Jordan (Dantico) did a hell of a job inside, he did exactly what we asked him to do. Isici Layne gets in, but the guys played the way we wanted them to. Greensburg did nothing that we didn’t expect. They’re a very good basketball team, they’re not ranked third or fourth for no reason. They made plays, we just have to learn from it.”

The Spartans had chances to create separation, scoring at least six straight points on three different occasions in the first three quarters. The Centurions always seemed to have an answer, never falling behind more than 10 points throughout the entire game.

Greensburg will now go onto play another Lawrence County team in Neshannock, 71-69 winners over Washington, Saturday at a time and site to be determined.

Nightly Roundup
Feb 19, 2015 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Greensburg Central Catholic 14 18 9 20 0 61
Laurel 15 15 12 11 0 53
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