Spartans struggle with shooting, lose to Riverside
Laurel (40) Vs. Riverside (60)
Jan 16, 2009

Missed foul shots were one thing.

But the fact that some of those chances resulted in air balls on top of missed layups and thwarted opportunities is what really irked Mike Tinstman.

The Laurel High boys basketball coach cringed as he watched his Spartans trail Riverside by only five at the half and then end up losing the WPIAL Section 2-AA contest at home, 60-40.

“We just didn’t have any chemistry out there,” Tinstman said. “We didn’t run an offense. We didn’t do a lot of things at all. It’s frustrating.”

For Riverside, the victory was a breath of fresh air. The Panthers (2-5 section, 6-10 overall) entered the contest riding a seven-game losing streak.

“We’ve played really well all year,” Riverside coach John Rorick said. “Our record doesn’t necessarily show it, but we’ve been in every one of our section games right down to the very end.

“We put it all together tonight. We’ve been very close. We hope this kick-starts it for us going into the second half of the season.”

The Spartans (2-5, 6-8) stayed within a basket for most of the first half before the Panthers used an 8-2 run to close the second quarter with a 24-19 advantage.

“Give all the credit to Riverside,” said Tinstman, whose Spartans entered the game winning three of their last four. “They came into our place, played a very good game and controlled the tempo. And they played great defense and outhustled us.”

Laurel missed its first six chances from the foul line and finished the game 9 of 17.

“We weren’t shooting well and not making foul shots,” Tinstman said. “We weren’t doing the little things.

“I expected to come out and play a little harder in the second half. We didn’t do that. We kept missing shots.”

However, Riverside thrived from the charity stripe, nailing 22 of 29 attempts.

“To make the free throws pushed that lead for us and then we played good defense,” Rorick said. “We forced them into some tough shots and we were able to keep them off the boards fairly well.”

The Panthers, who took a 42-33 lead after the third quarter, sank 10 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter alone.

“It was definitely the game,” Rorick said. “It was a role reversal for us. Last week at Mohawk, we shot 1 of 2 and then tonight we took about 30 shots and we shot a high percentage.

“We have some good shooters. We’re very solid at the free throw line and we take care of the basketball.”

Shane Rusnock was another factor for Riverside. The senior guard led all scorers with 20 points, notching 10 in each half.

Fellow senior guard Mason Marion followed with 16 points. He was 11 of 12 from the foul line. Jake Thellman chipped in 10.

“Mason and Shane are our best two players back from last year,” Rorick said. “They are our go-to guys. They have stepped up big and they made the plays when we needed them.

“Shane has given us everything he’s had. Hopefully, this continues. He’s a tremendous athlete.”

Riverside outscored Laurel in the fourth quarter, 18-7. The Panthers used an 11-1 run to start the final period.

“Part of the game is runs, they had a nice run and we didn’t respond,” Tinstman said. “Part of learning how to win is dealing with runs and coming back. The fact that we didn’t come back is what upsets me.”

Junior guards Jake Dando and Eric Wallas, along with sophomore guard Chad Long, each scored eight points to lead Laurel.

“The worst part that I’m upset about is that we lost out intensity out there,” Tinstman said. “We can’t do that against a team like Riverside.

“They were battling and playing hard and we just didn’t finish strong.”
Nightly Roundup
Jan 16, 2009 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Laurel 8 11 14 7 0 40
Riverside 10 14 18 18 0 60
Box Scores
Jake Thellman 3 4-4 10
Zac Rorick 1 0-0 3
Aaron Bingle 1 3-4 5
Mason Marion 2 11-12 16
Shane Rusnock 10 0-4 20
T.J. Altsman 0 1-2 1
Nick Pollio 0 2-2 2
Cameron Ninos 1 1-1 3
Sean Strosnider 0 0-0 0
Josh Anderson 0 0-0 0
Totals: 18 22-29 60

Shane Caldararo 2 1-4 5
Jake Dando 4 0-0 8
Tyler Forbes 1 3-4 5
Mike Natale 0 0-3 0
Eric Wallas 3 0-0 8
Phil Fava 0 0-0 0
Kyle Richeal 2 2-2 6
Chad Long 2 3-4 8
Ryan Melichar 0 0-0 0
Evan Lafrance 0 0-0 0
Clint Pullium 0 0-0 0
Totals: 14 9-17 40

RIVERSIDE 10 14 18 18 — 60
LAUREL 8 11 14 7 — 40

3-point goals — Riverside 2 (Rorick 1, Marion 1), Laurel 3 (Wallas 2, Long 1).
JV score: Riverside 42, Laurel 19. High scorer: R — Rob Harvey 13. L — Richeal 19.
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