Neshannock too strong for Union
Union (44) Vs. Neshannock (77)
Dec 10, 2010
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
First performances are tough to grade, but Neshannock High School boys basketball coach John Corey gave it a shot.
“I would say we were like a B- tonight,” he said after the Lancers defeated Union, 77-44, last night in the second game of the opening night of the Neshannock Tipoff Tournament. “That grade might drop some after I look at the films a couple of times.”
It might also go up if Corey bases his evaluation on what his team did with the starters on the court.
Neshannock will take on crosstown rival Shenango in the tournament’s championship contest at 7:30 p.m. today. Shenango edged West Middlesex, 53-50, in the first game last night. Union and West Middlesex will play in the consolation contest at 6.
True, the Neshannock-Union contest got a little sloppy toward the end. But that was because both coaches cleared their benches and because the Lancers had a commanding 63-31 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Neshannock played exceptionally well in the first quarter, connecting on 7 of 11 field-goal attempts, four from 3-point range. The Lancers also took advantage of Union mistakes.
“We had some good looks at the basket,” Corey said of the Lancers’ first quarter performance. “I was worried about the first-game jitters and how we’d react.”
Union coach Dave Smialowski, who is rebuilding this season after having seven of his top eight players graduate, thought the Scotties contributed to Neshannock’s good shooting in the first period.
“We were a little impatient. We were coming down and making one pass and taking a shot instead of trusting in the offense,” he said. “And because of our bad offense they were getting some easy shots at their end.
“I don’t know that they outhustled us or anything like that. We’re a work in progress and we are going to be that way for a while.”
As if the final score wasn’t bad enough, Union’s Anthony Poerio had to be helped off the court with what appeared to be a right knee injury late in the third quarter.
After falling behind 25-12 at the end of the first quarter, Union made a run at the start of the second and trimmed the Lancers’ lead to 27-20 when Tre Major scored on a layup with 5:20 left in the half. The Scotties were only down 30-22 after Toryan Respress drove to the basket, but that was as close as they would get.
Neshannock scored the final 11 points of the first half to take a 41-22 lead to the locker room. Union missed six free throws, two of them the front end of one-and-ones, in the final three minutes of the second quarter.
The Scotties had a tough night at the foul line, connecting on just 2 of 11. Union scored the first five points of the third quarter, then Neshannock ripped off 16 consecutive points.
Brandon Marinelli, who led all scorers with 26 points, had eight in the outburst. John Sansone finished the game with 15 points for Neshannock, while Andre Jones led Union with 10 points.“I thought [Union] did a great job attacking the offensive glass,” Corey said.
“They had nine offensive rebounds at the half, so that’s something we have to work on.”Sounds like the grade for the performance is already starting to drop.