Mohawk cracks under Summit’s pressure
Mohawk (46) Vs. Summitt (66)
Jan 29, 2008

HERMAN — Summit Academy applied pressure from the opening tip.

But it wasn’t just so the Knights could get off to a fast start last night. They also were hoping to set up for a strong finish against Mohawk.

Actually, they did both, denying the Warriors a chance for a piece of the WPIAL Section 2-AA title with a 66-46 win.

The victory clinched third place for Summit (7-4, 11-9), and handed the conference crown to Riverside. Had Mohawk (9-2, 12-6) won, it would have had a shot to tie the unbeaten Panthers for first place when the two teams meet Friday on the Warriors’ court.

In last night’s game, Summit head coach Cliff Guy had his team cranking up the full-court pressure on Mohawk from the outset, creating turnovers that fed the Knights’ potent transition game. Ten of Summit’s 11 first-half field goals were scored from inside the paint.

“We want our defense to become our offense,” Guy said. “If we can do that, we’re in every game. We had two blowouts this year, but we’ve been in every other game.

“We could have a 9-2 record if we could have pulled out some of those close games (three of the Knights’ four losses have come by a combined seven points). We’re learning how to play at the end of the game.”

Give the Knights an A+ in that department.

Leading by six after three quarters, they opened the final period with a 13-2 run that extended their advantage to 54-37. Derrick Elliott contributed 10 of his 16 points during the period to help finish off the Warriors.

Mohawk head coach Kevin Wrona conceded his team had troubles against Summit’s tenacious defense early on.

“They were playing a little bit up tempo, creating a lot of energy with their defense,” he said. “It’s a little smaller court, a little less space to manuever, and give them credit, they got the deflections, got out into the open court and made some layups.”

Wrona said he had opted to open the game in a matchup zone rather than his team’s traditional man-to-man defense, hoping to force the Knights’ offense into a perimeter attack.

“But once you get behind,” he said. “Then you’ve got to come out and guard, and that can be dangerous against a team like that.”

Mohawk switched defenses after halftime and, with the help of Matt Lorello, stayed within striking distance for another eight minutes. The 6-foot-4 junior contributed 10 of his 14 points during the frame, helping to offset the hot hand of Summit’s Matt Vaughn, who accounted for 10 of his 20 over the same span.

The Knights, though, continued to pour on the points in the final frame while the Warriors appeared to run out of steam.

“Things just got away from us in the fourth quarter,” Wrona said. “We have been battling the flu, and it’s been about two weeks since we had our full squad for practices. But I don’t want to use that as an excuse. Summit played a strong game.

“Hopefully, we can get that behind us and start getting these guys in the gym for practices.”

Summit’s victory means that Friday’s section finales for both the Knights (at fourth-place Neshannock) and the Warriors (home against Riverside) have been rendered meaningless. None of the four teams can improve or drop in the final standings, no matter how it fares.

Guy and Wrona, though, don’t see it that way.

“This is special to make the playoffs for a second straight year, because it’s a whole new team,” said Guy. “To get there last year for the first time in a while, then to come back and do it again this year with a new team, that’s special.

“Our kids are coming together at the right time. We’re still learning, but hopefully, we can continue to build momentum that we can take into the playoffs.”

Wrona lamented the loss of his team’s shot at a share of the section title, but also focused on the work yet to be done.

“It’s a unique atmosphere here,” he said of Summit’s gym, where a 200-student pep club and accompanying drum squad shake the rafters with relentless chants and pounding rhythms. “It definitely creates a home court advantage, but we’ve had success here. We’d won here three years in a row. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it four in what was the most important of the four contests.

“But this loss doesn’t change the type of season we’ve had. Obviously, it hurts, because we were hoping for something special on Friday night. But we’ve had a good season, and it’s not over yet.”

Nightly Roundup
Jan 29, 2008 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Mohawk 8 12 15 11 0 46
Summitt 11 12 18 25 0 66
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
#3 Justin Shaffer100020
#5 Michael Henry4220100
#21 Cory Nesbitt321070
#23 Chase Frederick421090
#44 Matt Lorello7000140
#41 Dan Powell100020
#32 Matt Jura100020
Laron Green285090
Terrance Davis100020
Henry Brown6100120
Matt Vaughn8631200
Derrick Elliott5740140
Alexis Rosario022020
William Jordan221050
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