Shenango does its part, but Neshannock plays spoil
Shenango (61) Vs. Laurel (53)
Feb 01, 2008

It was a night of drama for Shenango High — and all of it took place at the foul line.

Minutes after Rich Gaston sank 6-of-6 free throws in the final 38 seconds to lift the Wildcats to a 61-53 win at Laurel, the team was huddled near the same charity stripe, where Bryan Chieze had a cell phone pressed to his ear.

Chieze was receiving continual updates from across town, where Neshannock High was playing host to Summit Academy. Were the Lancers to lose, Shenango (5-7, 13-10) would advance to the WPIAL playoffs, tied with Neshannock for fourth place in Section 2-AA.

When Chieze grimaced and uttered one word — “Overtime” — shoulders, heads and hearts all dropped at once, and the huddle dispersed. The team boarded its bus, where it received the word on the way home. Final score: Neshannock 66, Summit 65.

“It’s disappointing,” a glum head coach Bob McQuiston said by phone, less than an hour after the ’Cats’ come-from-behind win had put him and his team in a celebratory mood. “When you start the season, your goal is always to make the playoffs and win the section, and when you fall short, it’s always disappointing, especially for the seniors.

“We’re having a team party at my house tonight. The guys don’t feel much like partying now, but I guess we just have to focus on the fun things we did.”

Laurel (1-11, 2-19) held a 35-27 lead with two minutes left in the third period, when Shenango guard Andrew Watson popped back-to-back 3-pointers, the latter of which turned out to be a four-point play when he was fouled by Dane Naughton. Those treys keyed a 10-0 run that put Shenango up by two, 37-35, going into the fourth.

“Ryan Tanner set an unbelievable screen to get Andrew open, and he could have stood there for five more minutes before he knocked it down,” McQuiston said. “Andrew (who finished with 18 points) got the hot hand late in the third, and we kept feeding him, and he got us rolling offensively.”

Shenango took a 52-51 lead into the final two minutes, when Laurel’s Eric Wallas — who, along with Jake Dando, scored 14 points — missed a layup, then fouled Gaston as the two battled for the rebound. For a moment, some extracurricular pushing followed, and Naughton leaped off the Laurel bench and started toward the hoop.

He only went about four steps, but it was far enough to get a technical, and Gaston drained four straight free throws — two for the double bonus, two for the T — to extend the lead to 56-51.

“I just tried to remain calm,” said Gaston, a 63 percent foul shooter who was 11 of 13 last night as part of his 21-point effort. “I just focused and knocked them down. I’ve been working on my free throws this week, so it paid off.

“I’m probably not the one you’d want there in that situation, but it fell on me tonight, and I knocked them down.”

Shenango went 5-of-8 from the line the rest of the way (including two more from Gaston), while Laurel could manage only two Wallas free throws to round out the scoring.

Then the wait began.

“My stomach’s in knots,” Gaston said.

Laurel head coach Mike Tinstman was beginning his wait as well. He’s anxious for next year to arrive after starting five sophomores last night.

“This was a fun group to be with,” he said. “They keep working, even though we’re losing. Sometimes when you lose, you start to lose your intensity. These young men, they keep coming out and playing hard.

“I wish we could start the season over again now. Most of these kids are going to be back for two more years. They’ve learned from this, from the frustration, and next year, if they work even harder, some of these close games will start going our way.”

Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Shenango 11 10 16 24 0 61
Laurel 9 17 9 18 0 53
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
Brian Chieze4820100
Rich Gaston513110210
Jesse Noca000000
Andrew Watson6215180
Rick Ferrari000000
Ryan Tanner100020
Mike Murcko3440100
Chris Grant000000
#10 Adam Gibson000000
#3 Jacob Dando4551140
#4 Tyler Forbes200150
#2 Eric Wallas5222140
#21 Dane Naughton300280
#1 Shane Caldararo100020
#12 Tyler Masone200260
#25 Michael Natale200040
Home | Game Schedules | Archive Coverage | Player of the Week
Lets Talk Basketball | BasketBlog | Big Shots
Copyright ©
All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.
Site Designed By: MotionLX, LLC