Shenango ends eight-game losing streak
Shenango (41) Vs. Mohawk (37)
Jan 15, 2010
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
In the world of high school basketball, it was an ugly game.
Beauty, however, is in the eye of the beholder. And for Shenango coach Bob McQuiston, last night’s Section 2-AA boys game at Mohawk was a thing of beauty.
The Wildcats had won just once this season going into the contest and were on an eight-game losing streak. A victory, especially a section victory, ugly or not was more than welcome.
“Every time we come over here it’s a battle,” said McQuiston after Shenango held on for the 41-37 win. “The one thing Mohawk does is play hard. We knew that coming in and our guys were fired up for the game.”
“It’s disappointing,” Warriors coach Kevin Wrona said in a quiet locker room. “It was one of those nights when we couldn’t get shots to drop and after a while the rim seemed to get a little bit smaller. We had some good shots, unfortunately they didn’t fall.”
Both teams would have had trouble throwing the ball into an ocean from a boat last night. In the second half, Shenango connected on just six of 18 field goal attempts and missed seven of 13 free throws.
In the same time frame, Mohawk made just 6 of 23 field goal attempts and was 2 of 5 at the foul line. Two of the missed free throws were the front ends of one-and-ones.
And in the fourth quarter, neither team scored until the Warriors’ Nick Fazioli connected on a 3-pointer with 3:35 left to play. Mohawk missed its first five shots in the period, while Shenango missed on its first four field-goal attempts of the quarter.
All of the missed shots and scraps for rebounds and loose balls made for a lot of excitement, but certainly not outstanding basketball.
In the end, the Wildcats made a field goal and the Warriors missed a 3-pointer and that was the difference. Jordan O’Hara put in a layup with 1:11 left to play, was fouled and converted the three-point play to give Shenango a 39-37 lead.
Teammate Brett Chieze then put in one of two free throw attempts with 29.5 seconds on the scoreboard to up the margin to three points.
After a Mohawk timeout, the Warriors’ Shane Eichenlaub worked free for a wide open 3-point attempt from the left side of the floor with about 4 seconds left. The shot looked perfect but rimmed out and Shenango’s Jeff Williams, who scored 15 points, ended up with the rebound. He was fouled and made one of two with a second remaining.
“I thought it was going in,” Wrona said of Eichenlaub’s attempt. “I had a perfect look at it and I thought it was in.”
“They hit a 3 at the end over here a couple years ago and then beat us in overtime,” McQuiston said. “Fortunately, that didn’t happen this time.”
The one player who didn’t have trouble scoring was Mohawk’s Jake Grim. He finished with 24 points, but managed just two in the fourth quarter, both on free throws, and was able to get off just one field goal attempt in the period.
In the final minute of play, Shenango shifted to a box-and-one defense against Grim, with Matt Jacobs playing him man-to-man.
“Grim is a great player and you aren’t going to stop him, you can only hope to limit his chances,” McQuiston said. “That’s what we tried to do at the end.”
Shenango upped its record to 2-11 overall, 1-4 in the section. Mohawk has now lost seven of eight after starting the season 3-2 and also is 1-4 in the section. They are 2-7 since losing junior forward Colin Bredl to a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery.
“There’s still a lot of the season left, but you’ve got to take care of business at home,” Wrona said. “We didn’t give up and I think we showed a lot of heart and character at the end. We just couldn’t make a shot when we needed to.”