Second half hurts Laurel
Laurel (48) Vs. New Brighton (64)
Jan 23, 2009
By JOHN D’ABRUZZO
It was a tale of two different halves for the Laurel High boys basketball team.
After trailing New Brighton by a bucket at halftime, the Spartans couldn’t keep up with the Lions and suffered a 64-48 WPIAL Section 2-AA loss at home last night.
“Even in the first half, we made some mistakes and they got some easy layups,” Laurel coach Mike Tinstman said. “They probably got four to six points off turnovers. We can’t afford to do that against a team like New Brighton.
“We were in the ballgame, but I don’t think we played as well as we could have played. They turned it up a notched and then we couldn’t respond.”
The Spartans (3-6 section, 7-9 overall) trailed 15-12 after the first quarter and went into the half down, 27-25.
New Brighton (5-3, 12-4) slowly caught fire in the third quarter and took a 41-34 advantage going into the final stanza.
The Lions opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run and held Laurel scoreless until 4:42 left in the game. They followed with a 5-0 run and never looked back.
“I made a few adjustments at half as far as who was guarding who and I think that helped,” Lions coach Mike DeChellis said. “Plus, I think (Laurel) got a little tired and worn out. We also have some more people to sub in and out and that makes a difference.”
“Then they put a run on us, we didn’t respond and we didn’t shoot very well,” Tinstman said. “For us to be successful, we have to shoot well. We’ve beat some good teams and that was because we shot well.”
Kane Rombold and B.J. Pearson were the biggest factors for New Brighton. The Lions relied on Rombold’s outside shooting in the first half and then watched Pearson dominate the inside during the second half.
“Early, we were trying to play a zone (defense) because we know how good Pearson is and we were trying to shut him down,” Tinstman said. “What they did was find Rombold on the 3-pointer and his first three shots were for 3.
“They forced us out and they were hitting those shots. Then when they forced us to man-to-man, we didn’t match up well down below.”
Pearson, who led all scorers with 18 points and also had seven rebounds, was held scoreless in the first quarter and had just four points at the half.
“One of the things is we didn’t give him the ball and they played it that way,” DeChellis said. “He got a lot of baskets not from our offense but from his rebounding. He got a lot of offensive rebounds and then we got the ball when we needed to get him the ball and he easily put the ball in the hoop.”
Rombold followed with 16 points. He hit three of his four 3-points in the first half.
“He was someone who started losing confidence,” DeChellis said. “In a couple of games he didn’t shoot very well and then he lost confidence, so the past couple of days we’ve got him back on track.”
Still, it was New Brighton’s second-half play in the paint that hurt Laurel.
“Sometimes we get a little frustrated when teams begin to physically challenge us,” Tinstman said. “We lost our focus. And there were a couple times in the third quarter, whether they got fouled or not, they lost their focus and that’s not a good sign.”
Eric Wallas led the Spartans with 17 points. He had three 3-pointers. Jake Dando followed with 13 points.
“I wasn’t disappointed with (the team’s) effort,” Tinstman said. “They tried, but we didn’t play smart. You have to do the little things to be a good team and New Brighton’s a good team.
“We have three section games left and I’m sure we’re going to battle.”