Neshannock boys drop heartbreaker to Lincoln Park
Neshannock (61) Vs. Lincoln Park (63)
Feb 20, 2016
By Shawn Fox
New Castle News

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP – The third time was very nearly the charm for the Neshannock High boys basketball team.

The Lancers held a two-point lead against Section 1 foe Lincoln Park Charter School with 2:16 remaining in the game, but the Leopards were able to grab the lead and hold on down the stretch to post a 63-61 victory Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School.

“We just kept battling,” said Neshannock coach John Corey, whose team fell to the Leopards, 73-56 on Jan. 8 and 79-61 on Feb. 2. “I’ve got a bunch of fighters who were willing to continue to battle through times of adversity. I couldn’t be prouder of their effort tonight throughout the entire game.”

The Lancers (18-5) will have to quickly put the loss behind them, as they face off with Quaker Valley at 8 p.m. today in a PIAA first round play-in game at Keystone Oaks High School. The Quakers (19-5) dropped a 72-44 decision to Bishop Canevin on Saturday.

A win by Neshannock guarantees a trip to the PIAA playoffs. The WPIAL advances six teams to the state playoffs in Class AA.

“From a coaching standpoint, you’ve got to turn the page to the next game,” Corey said. “With the quick turnaround, it comes down to what team is mentally tough enough to come out and really feel that enthusiasm and energy to put the uniform on again. We’ve got to put this behind us, as frustrating as it is.”

Neshannock, the 10th seed, found itself trailing by 10 points, 50-40, 30 seconds into the fourth quarter before it began its comeback against the second-seeded Leopards.

Jake Rylott, who led the Lancers with 17 points, got the rally started by burying a 3-pointer from the left wing. Frank Fraschetti followed that up with a jumper from just inside the arc. A pair of free throws by Jason Swope drew Neshannock to within three points, 50-47, with 5:13 to go in the contest.

Nelly Cummings ended the Lancers’ run with a free throw before Swope’s three from the left corner made it a one-point game, 51-50, with 4:35 remaining.

“Neshannock lives and dies by the three and in the fourth quarter they lived by it,” Lincoln Park coach Mike Bariski said. “That’s what got them back into the game. Swope took our big guy outside and made that three, and we didn’t respond. We came down and didn’t get into our offense.”

The Lancers took their first lead since an early 4-0 advantage as Rich Serignese hit a pair of free throws to make it 52-51 with 4:15 left on the clock.

Following a Keeno Holmes free throw that re-tied the score, Rylott gave the Lancers their last lead of the game by scoring on a drive to make it 54-52.

Cummings, who finished with a game-high 28 points, put Lincoln Park ahead for good by draining a 3-pointer from the right elbow with 1:54 remaining. It was the Leopards’ lone field goal of the fourth quarter.

“I thought our perimeter defense was really good in the fourth quarter,” Corey said. “Our kids just played their butts off. Cummings’ field goal was challenged. Every single time they caught the ball, we were under them.”

Neshannock would twice cut the deficit to a point over the final 30 seconds and had a chance to win the game after Cummings connected on just 1 of 2 foul shots with 3.6 seconds remaining.

“Nelly hit a big three and a big foul shot,” Bariski said. “He didn’t have a great shooting game. It’s nice to have him on our team.”

Out of a timeout, Fraschetti inbounded the ball to Rylott, who dribbled over midcourt and launched a 3-pointer that hit just off the right side of the rim as time expired.

“Jake Rylott is a tremendous shooter,” Corey said. “We called that timeout with three seconds to go, and the ball was either going in Rylott’s hands or Swope’s hands. I think they both called for the ball, but Jake was the first one to say ‘give me the ball.’ To his credit, to have that will and that fire to want the ball in that situation shows he’s a true competitor. He got a good look and we set a couple good screens for him. Frank’s got a great arm on him and I told him when we went out that I wanted to see that great arm. He threw a strike, Jake caught it, got a good look, and it didn’t go.

“My message to my guys was that they just proved what type of competitors they are. They made me very proud. I think they proved to a lot of people sitting there watching that game whether they’re from Neshannock or Lincoln Park that this is a really good group of basketball players. They’re a great team, and I’m proud to coach them.”

The Leopards (21-3) had leads of 17-10 after one quarter, 33-29 at the half and 48-40 after three quarters.

Evan Moose chipped in with 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks for the Lancers, while Swope finished with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Nick Aloi (17) and Zay Craft (13) also scored in double figures for Lincoln Park.

Lincoln Park will face Bishop Canevin in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Ambridge High School.
Nightly Roundup
Feb 20, 2016 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Neshannock 10 19 11 21 0 61
Lincoln Park 17 16 15 15 0 63
Box Scores
Jake Rylott 8 0-0 17
Frank Fraschetti 3 2-2 8
Ethan Moose 7 1-3 15
Jason Swope 3 5-6 14,
Rich Serignese 1 2-2 4
Brandon Scheidemantle 1 0-0 3
Totals: 23 10-13 61

Nelly Cummings 8 8-10 28
Nick Aloi 5 6-6 17
Zay Craft 5 3-7 13
Dermotti Welling 0 0-0 0
Keeno Holmes 1 1-2 3
Evan Brown 0 0-0 0
Nick Antonucci 0 0-0 0
Thomas Melonja 1 0-0 2
Totals: 20 18-25 63

NESHANNOCK 10 19 11 21 -- 61
LINCOLN PARK 17 16 15 15 -- 63

3-point goals – Neshannock 5 (Swope 3, Rylott, Scheidemantle), Lincoln
Park 5 (Cummings 4, Aloi).
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