Mohawk loses first in section at Summit
Mohawk (63) Vs. Summit Academy (66)
Jan 31, 2009
By DAN IRWIN
HERMAN — Mohawk High faced Summit Academy here last night in a conference rematch, and the Knights were a completely different team.
Seven players — including three starters — who were on Summit’s roster when the Warriors dealt the Knights a 22-point setback at Mohawk earlier this month were nowhere to be seen last night.
In their place was the likes of newcomer Johnny Jenkins, who scored 21 points to help Summit hand the Warriors their first WPIAL Section 2-AA loss, 66-63.
Mohawk (9-1, 16-3) already had clinched at least a share of the section title, but could have wrapped it up outright with a victory.
In addition to Jenkins’ efforts, the Knights (4-7, 6-13) also got 16 points and 15 rebounds from Derrick Rawls and 10 points from Isaiah Davis. Both were reserves who had six points between them in the two teams’ previous meeting.
“I’m very proud of my kids,” said Summit head coach Cliff Guy, whose team is 2-2 in its last four games, with its two setbacks coming by a total of four points. “I got rid of seven players in the middle of the season, during our conference run, for disciplinary reasons.
“These kids, during the last four games, they lost some close ones, but they came together tonight and and whooped the No. 1 team in the conference. We have run JV players up, and they’re playing with intensity, and belief. That’s the key.”
The Knights’ new faces weren’t really a surprise for Mohawk head coach Kevin Wrona.
“That’s what happens when you’re dealing with Summit Academy,” Wrona said. “You’ve got guys coming and going, and some of these guys they had here tonight were pretty good players.”
Of course, Mohawk had a few of its own, including junior guard Jake Grim, who had a 29-point performance. He dropped in 15 of those points following a bloody, head-to-head collision with Summit’s Keith Bonichar early in the third quarter. Grim sat out most of that period with an ice pack on the gash near his hairline, but twice got Mohawk to within a single bucket in the game’s final 60 seconds.
The Warriors also got 16 points and 10 rebounds from Matt Lorello, but what they didn’t have was timely free-throw shooting or a penchant for taking care of the ball. Mohawk was just 5-of-13 at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter and committed more than two dozen turnovers throughout the game.
“We had 15 turnovers at halftime and we gave up 11 offensive rebounds, and we were only down three,” Wrona noted. “We felt that if we could just correct those two items, and we really thought that we could, we’re going to have a great opportunity here.
“We still didn’t correct those items, but we still had an opportunity.”
That chance was squandered, though, despite the fact that Summit was just 3-of-10 from line the after Grim’s fourth trey of the night had pulled Mohawk to within two, 63-61. A pair of Chandler Smalls foul shots put the lead back to four with 28 seconds left, only to see Grim respond with a layup with six ticks remaining.
However, Montrell Mitchell added a final three throw with 4.5 seconds showing, and Mohawk’s Jordan Sager missed a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the game.
“I give our kids a lot of credit,” Wrona said. “They showed a lot of heart, a lot of character. They battled to the end and to even be in the position where we had a shot at the end to send it into overtime in some sense is quite remarkable.
“No question, we could have played better tonight. We needed to cut down our turnovers, eliminate the stick-backs and make our free throws. We’ll correct those items, we’ll turn the page and move on.”