Laurel’s lead, playoff hopes vanish
Summit Academy (60) Vs. Laurel (55)
Feb 03, 2009

The Laurel High boys basketball team watched its playoff hopes go up in smoke last night.

And moments after Summit Academy’s 60-55 victory over the Spartans, it was the same story for the Knights.

Laurel had a four-point lead near the end of the third quarter in a WPIAL Section 2-AA contest against Summit Academy. But the Knights seized the momentum with a buzzer-beating basket to end the frame and two quick fast-break buckets to start the fourth.

The visitors continued to break free for easy baskets in the final frame.

“We made some mistakes and they got some easy layups in transition. I thought that was the difference,” Laurel coach Mike Tinstman said. “Summit played very well. I was proud of how our players played. They played for four quarters, but we just had a couple of spells where we made some mistakes and a team like Summit, with its athletic capability, capitalized on it.”

Summit Academy especially cashed in during the fourth quarter.

“We were up by four (but) we didn’t hit some shots we needed to hit and we had some turnovers,” Tinstman said. “To beat any team, you have to take advantage of some things that we didn’t and you have to take some things away. We didn’t take the transition away. In the second half, they scored a lot in transition, especially in the fourth quarter.”

The new-look Knights (5-7 section, 7-13 overall) are out of the playoff picture. Shenango’s 55-45 win at Mohawk knocked them out of contention.

“It was a long shot,” Summit Academy coach Cliff Guy said. “In the middle of the season, I got rid of seven kids and we’re bringing a new team in and they’re playing together and that’s the key — the team concept, not being selfish and doing the things we need to do. We’re learning how to win the close games. Too bad it’s the end of the season.”

The Knights bolted to an 8-2 lead, but the Spartans (3-8, 7-12) fought back and stayed close. Summit Academy clung to a 24-22 halftime advantage before Laurel made its move in the third quarter.

Jake Dando swished a trey and Eric Wallas added a bucket to give the Spartans a 34-30 lead with 3:59 left in the period. Following a Derrick Rawls hoop to slice the Knights’ deficit in half, Shane Caldararo’s putback made it a 36-32 game with 12 seconds on the clock. The score seemed like it’d remain that way heading into the fourth, but Keith Banichar knocked down a shot at the buzzer to give Summit Academy a boost and a two-point deficit.

In the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, the Knights used their speed to gain easy baskets and pull away.

Although there will be no postseason for the Spartans, they’re looking forward to Friday’s game at Shenango.

“We had some goals at the beginning of the season that we didn’t accomplish. It’s disappointing,” Tinstman said. “Hopefully, we can go to Shenango and be competitive and put ourselves in a situation to win. It’s always an important game for Shenango, too, so I know it won’t be easy.”

Caldararo led all scorers with 19 points, while Dando added 15 for the Spartans.

Banichar paced Summit Academy with 18 points and Rawls added 13.
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Summit Academy 13 11 10 26 0 60
Laurel 9 13 14 19 0 55
Box Scores
Johnny Jenkins 4 1-3 9
Keith Banichar 7 3-3 18
Isaiah Davis 2 2-2 6
Montrell Mitchell 2 4-4 8
Derrick Rawls 6 1-4 13
Chandler Smalls 1 0-0 2
Kevin Goodman 1 0-0 2
Derek Washington 0 0-0 0
Braheem Bailey 1 0-1 2.
Totals: 24 11-17 60.

Shane Caldararo 8 3-6 19
Jake Dando 6 2-2 15
Tyler Forbes 0 0-0 0
Mike Natale 2 0-0 5
Eric Wallas 3 0-1 7
Chad Long 3 0-0 9
Ryan Melichar 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 22 5-9 55.

SUMMIT ACADEMY 13 11 10 26 — 60
LAUREL 9 13 14 19 — 55

3-point goals — Summit Academy 1 (Banichar 1), Laurel 6 (Long 3, Dando 1, Natale 1, Wallas 1).
JV score: No game.
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