Wallas paves way for Laurel in win
Laurel (65) Vs. Summit Academy (52)
Jan 15, 2010
By TODD KRISE
In order to beat Summit Academy, an opposing team needs a quality point guard.
Fortunately for Laurel High, it has Eric Wallas.
The senior calmly handled the Knights’ pressure defense and netted a game-high 16 points to lead the Spartans to a 65-52 WPIAL Section 2-AA homecourt victory last night.
“We knew they would be after us with the press,” Wallas said, “so we were just working on slowing it down and making good passes.”
Mike Natale scored 14 points, Jake Dando chipped in 12 and Tyler Forbes added 10 in helping Laurel (3-2 section, 7-4 overall) defeat Summit Academy for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
“We always struggle against Summit,” Wallas said. “This was a pretty big win for us.”
Both teams played evenly in the first half with the Spartans carrying a 25-24 lead heading into the break.
Laurel slowly began to pull away thanks to a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter.
Natale and Wallas each drained five points during that stretch, causing Knights coach Cliff Guy to call a timeout.
The Spartans continued to chisel at Summit Academy’s 1-2-2 defense by attacking its center.
The main targets were Forbes and Dando, who in return found fellow forward Shane Caldararo (eight points) underneath the hoop for consecutive reverse layups that put Laurel up 55-48 with 2:09 remaining in the game.
Forbes finished with five assists and Dando had four.
“We were looking for the open man,” Spartans coach Mike Tinstman said. “That’s what I really liked about the game.”
From there, Laurel used the foul line to win its third straight game. The Spartans knocked down 10 of 14 from the charity strip to seal the win.
Tinstman said it was refreshing to see his team succeed in that department after struggling from the line earlier this season.
Rebounding also was a concern for Laurel last night. The Spartans allowed Summit Academy (3-3, 4-9) to grab 16 offensive boards.
“I was pleased with a lot of things that we did,” Tinstman said. “We need to do a better job of rebounding. We gave that team two or three shots sometimes. I thought we played aggressive. I thought we did a good job defensively. But sometimes our rebounding let us down.”
Guy, whose team defeated Laurel twice by a combined 29 points last year, said his squad was tired following a tough two weeks.
The Knights are down to only 13 players on both varsity and junior varsity, following the dismissal of 19 players due to “discipline problems,” according to Guy.
Qu’Ran Reaves scored 10 points to lead Summit Academy.
“We’re learning how to play together,” Guy said. “I give Laurel a lot of credit. They were very disciplined and moved the ball around.”