Third-quarter run lifts Laurel to victory
Laurel (50) Vs. Riverside (41)
Jan 22, 2010
By JOE SAGER
NORTH SEWICKLEY TOWNSHIP — Laurel High wanted to run, but Riverside settled for a crawl.
Eventually, the Spartans found a good pace last night as they posted a 50-41 WPIAL Section 2-AA boys basketball road victory.
Coming into the contest, Laurel (5-2 section, 9-4 overall) had a four-game win streak and averaged nearly 72 points per outing during that run. So, when the Panthers refused to open up the game against the athletic and balanced Spartans, the guests struggled to adapt in the first half.
Riverside (1-6, 5-11), buoyed by its slow offensive approach, posted an 11-7 lead after the opening stanza and carried a 22-18 buffer into halftime.
“We had a little trouble with our offense in the first half. We weren’t swinging the ball around well. They were switching from a man-to-man defense to a zone, but we came out in the second half on top of it and we were moving the ball,” said Laurel’s Tyler Forbes, who scored a team-high 14 points. “It was a big win. We know we can’t take any team lightly in the conference. Every game, it’s a fight for the top of the section. We know we have to win at home and get a few on the road, so this is one we knew we definitely had to get.”
While the Panthers’ methodical offense and changing defenses affected Laurel, so did Mason Marion. The senior guard tallied 16 of his game-high 20 points in the first half. He became the program’s fifth 1,000-point scorer in the process and has 1,015 career tallies.
“They came out and they wanted to control the tempo and they did a great job. I wasn’t displeased with our defense in the first half. They worked the ball well and Marion had a great night and was hitting his shots. I give a lot of credit to Riverside,” Laurel coach Mike Tinstman said. “But I challenged our players in the fact that, while we were playing good defense, we weren’t patient offensively. The last few games we went up and down the floor a lot for some easy baskets. We were trying to do that here and we weren’t being patient. We weren’t getting as many opportunities with the way Riverside was handling the ball.
“It’s a big win for us. We haven’t beaten Riverside down here for a long time,” he continued. “That’s the third away section game we’ve won, now we have to take care of business at home a little bit.”
The Spartans shut down Marion in the second half as he managed one field goal and a pair of free throws.
“We tried to stop him. He did a great job,” Tinstman said. “We doubled the ball and tried to keep the ball out of his hands. It worked. It was a good defensive effort; I was really pleased with that.”
Laurel’s defense limited the Panthers to one field goal and one free throw in the third quarter. In the process, the offense found a rhythm. Eric Wallas swished a 3-pointer and Tyler Forbes tallied a hoop and a freebie to spark the guests on an 11-0 run. That spree erased a 24-20 deficit and gave the Spartans a 34-24 edge. They carried a 34-25 lead into the fourth.
“After that run, it put us on the right page and our defense starting clicking, so it was good,” Forbes said.
Riverside fought back in the final frame and cut the deficit to three points on two different occasions. However, Laurel did not yield its advantage.
“We knew they were going to keep fighting and not give up, so we just had to keep battling to the last second,” Forbes said. “This is an exciting win.”
Josh Anderson added 15 points for Riverside.
Shane Caldararo added 12 points to the balanced Spartans attack. Chad Long had nine points, while Wallas finished with seven.