Neshannock turns back Blairsville
Neshannock (71) Vs. Blairsville (51)
Mar 07, 2015
By Andrew Koob
New Castle News

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The first six minutes were a feeling-out process for both the Blairsville and Neshannock High boys basketball teams.

Turnovers and overall sloppy play highlighted an 8-8 start of a game begging for someone to step into the spotlight.

Enter Jake Rylott.

The junior guard hit three consecutive 3-pointers during a 17-0 Lancers’ run — beginning late in the first quarter and continuing into the second quarter — that propelled Neshannock into the PIAA Class AA second round with a 71-51 win over Blairsville Saturday afternoon at Hollidaysburg High School.

Rylott, who entered the game with a combined six points in his last two contests, scored a game-high 22 points and connected on seven 3-pointers, shooting 70 percent from beyond the arc.

“My teammates got me started early,” Rylott said. “They got me a few open looks and they started falling after that. You start to get into a rhythm. You start shooting better and your teammates do everything to try and get you open.”

The point total and made 3-pointers were his best since he drained eight deep shots and scored 28 points in a 71-47 blowout win over Riverside earlier this year.

“Shooters sometimes do that,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “There’s no doubt Jake is a great shooter, we’ve seen it countless times throughout the season. He hasn’t shot the ball very well the last couple of games, but shooters always bounce back and he did it in a big way in the biggest game of the year for us.”

Ethan Moose tallied 17 points — 7-of-13 from the field — and added seven rebounds. Jimmy Medure totaled 12 points, hitting on all four of his attempts from the field, and grabbed 11 rebounds.

The Lancers (18-8) shot 56.3 from the field and 55.6 from beyond the arc. In turn, they held the Bobcats to just 36.4 percent overall and 22.7 from deep.

“We talked a lot coming into this week that guys needed to play better,” Corey said. “It’s the state playoffs and we needed to rise up. A little bit better from everybody and we had a great team win tonight.”

“We were confident in ourselves. We have good guards, good shooters, good forwards. We knew we were going to compete against a very good team and we’ve been playing very well lately. Take the Lincoln Park game out of it, the last three or four weeks for us has been very good.”

Blairsville (22-5) made its push after the intermission, going on a 7-1 run to cut the Lancers’ lead to seven. Five straight points put Neshannock back up double-digits, where the lead would stay for the remainder of the game.

The Lancers also held Blairsville’s top three scorers, who averaged a combined 46 points per game, to 37 points. Troy Williams scored a team-high 18 points, hitting his season average, while Cameron Livingston (12 points) and Rahdezz Henderson (seven) scored below their season averages.

“We knew they were going to go on a run,” Corey said. “We had to go out and win the second half, we talked about how they were going to come out and start pressing us, start trapping us. I just thought we did a great job. Whatever they threw at us, I thought we handled it like a team that’s in the Sweet 16.”

“We’ve preached that, in the WPIAL playoffs and the state playoffs, everyone is good. It’s just a matter of playing tough consistently for four quarters. Throughout the runs, I thought our guys did a good job of buckling down and just competing at a high level. We knew they were going to make their runs. They’re a very good basketball team, they have two great forwards inside and they have the ability to shoot the ball. It was just a matter of coming together and keeping our composure. It may have gotten chippy out there for a lot of the second half. We kept telling our guys to stay focused and continue to play with that level of toughness that we expect, but not getting caught up in all of the extracurricular activities.”

The Lancers struggled from the free-throw line as a whole, hitting only 12 of their 21 attempts. They did, however, sink crucial free throws (7-of-10) down the stretch to put the game out of reach.

“The free throw line wasn’t and hasn’t been our strength,” Corey said. “But we hit them when they counted. It’s something we still need to improve on. Those are free points that we have to have to continue to improve on.”

The victory marks Neshannock’s first triumph in the state playoffs since the 2009-10 season, when the Lancers, then Class A, defeated Conemaugh Valley, 62-41, in the second round.

The Lancers, the WPIAL’s fifth seed that year, also defeated DuBois Central Catholic in the first round, but fell to Lincoln Park, 70-53, in the quarterfinals.

Neshannock gets a chance at revenge when they meet Greensburg Central Catholic at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Canon-McMillan High. The Centurions defeated the Lancers in the WPIAL quarterfinals two weeks ago.

“They’re really good,” Corey said. “So playing them before, I don’t know if it matters because they’re a really good basketball team. Preparation-wise it helps, I don’t think we shot well that game. It’s a game where you shoot good, you look good. You shoot good, it’s easier to win. You hate to say it, but sometimes it just comes down to making shots and it’s something we didn’t do the first time against them. With another opportunity, I’d like to see us improve on that.”

Nightly Roundup
Mar 07, 2015 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 16 15 16 24 0 71
Blairsville 8 10 16 17 0 51
Box Scores
Jake Rylott 7 1-3 22
Ethan Moose 7 3-7 17
Frank Fraschetti 1 0-1 3
Jimmy Medure 4 4-5 12
Rich Serignese 0 0-0 0
T.J. Scott 0 0-0 0
Jim Powers 1 0-0 2
Frank Antuono 0 1-2 1
Donald Colucci 3 3-3 9
Ray Scala 0 0-0 0
Jason Swope 2 0-0 5
Mike Nuzzo 0 0-0 0
Brandon Scheidemantle 0 0-0 0
Ean Oprean 0 0-0 0
Totals: 25 12-21 71

Cameron Livingston 5 0-0 12
Ricky Shirley 1 0-0 2
Jaylin Rydbom 2 0-0 6
Troy Williams 7 4-7 18
Rahdezz Henderson 3 0-0 7
Alex Parkhurst 2 1-2 5
Jared Uncapher 0 1-2 1
Matt Jackson 0 0-0 0
Totals: 20 6-11 51

NESHANNOCK 16 15 16 24 — 71
BLAIRSVILLE 8 10 16 17 — 51

3-point goals — Neshannock 9 (Rylott 7, Swope 1, Fraschetti 1), Blairsville 5 (Livingston 2, Rydbom 2, Henderson 1).
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