Neshannock gets the job done in opener
West Middlesex (44) Vs. Neshannock (50)
Dec 05, 2008

In terms of basketball games, it wasn’t a masterpiece.
Definitely not what John Corey anticipated to see last night, anyway.
But, he’ll take it.
Neshannock staved off a pesky West Middlesex squad for a hard-fought 50-44 triumph last night at its own Early Bird tournament. It was Corey’s first win in his first game as Lancers head coach.
“It wasn’t very pretty, but a win is a win and starting the year off 1-0 is everybody’s hope,” Corey said.
The game took on a physical tone right from the opening tip. Combine that with a bevy of missed shots, turnovers and whistles and the game is certainly one that won’t show up on any basketball instructional videos.
“It was very physical,” Corey said. “I was a bit disappointed in some of our guys in the physicality of the basketball game. For my liking, we gave up way too many offensive rebounds. That’s something we have to take care of. It wasn’t pretty, but we got the win.”
The Lancers meet Union for the championship at 7:30 tonight. West Middlesex meets Shenango in the 6 p.m. consolation battle.
“Union looked very impressive in that win over Shenango,” Corey said. “Our big thing is going to be to come out and take care of the basketball. That was my biggest disappointment in this effort. I didn’t think we were very smart with the basketball. Against a team that is as active and athletic as Union, you definitely have to take care of the basketball. That’ll be our thing all year — if we can take care of the basketball, we can put ourselves in positions to win games.”
Neshannock maintained the advantage throughout the game. The Lancers led by seven at halftime (36-20) and at the end of the third quarter (33-26). However, they could not gain separation for the Big Reds.
“When it’s going back and forth like that, as a coach, you’re staring at the scoreboard and hoping that separation will occur,” Corey said. “The lead started to dwindle and dwindle, but our guys stepped to the line and, toward the end, our guys took care of the basketball.”
The hosts watched as their lead dwindled to a point, 44-43, with 39.5 seconds remaining in the contest. However, Tony Kirkwood swished a pair of free throws to make it a 46-43 buffer. Following a West Middlesex miss, Kirkwood snared the rebound and was fouled. Once again, he drained both free throws to increase the Neshannock lead to 48-44 with 14.4 seconds to go. The Lancers held on for the victory.
“That was a big boost. We got a four-point lead, so that made it a two-possession game. We came down and hit more foul shots and ended the game,” Kirkwood said. “Going against Union, we need to take care of the ball and play more fundamentally sound. We’ll have to pick up our defense a lot.”
Bobby Nittinger led Neshannock with 16 points. Kirkwood finished with 11. Kyle Allen paced West Middlesex with 16 points and Ryan Chupak added 13.

Lancers get the job done in openerLancers get the job done in opener
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
West Middlesex 6 9 11 18 0 44
Neshannock 9 13 11 17 0 50
Box Scores
Kyle Allen 5 6-7 16, Kyle Gregarich 1 0-2 2, Marcus Murray 3 1-2 8, Ryan Chupak 4 5-6 13, David Porterfield 1 0-0 3, James Gearhart 1 0-2 2, Mike Winters 1 1-2 3. Totals: 15 17-25 50.
Bryce Kauffman 1 4-4 6, Tony Kirkwood 2 6-7 11, Stephen Perrott 3 3-4 9, Eric Bruening 0 1-4 1, Bobby Nittinger 6 2-4 16, Joey Fontana 2 0-0 4, Brandon Doran 1 1-2 3. Totals: 15 17-25 50.
W. MIDDLESEX 6 9 11 18 — 44
NESHANNOCK 9 13 11 17 — 50
3-point goals — West Middlesex (Murray, Porterfield); Neshannock (Nittinger 2, Kirkwood).
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