MERCER COUNTY AREA —
STONEBORO — Looks certainly can be deceiving.
Unsuspecting basketball fans would have assumed Mercer won and Lakeview lost based on their respective coach’s demeanor in the immediate aftermath of their Region 2-AA clash Friday night.
Mercer coach Doug Schmid was upbeat and positive, while Sailor mentor Gary Burke appeared dejected.
Yet, it was Burke’s Sailors and not Schmid’s Mustangs who walked out Lakeview High School clinging to a 39-36 victory.
“No one should leave this gym from Mercer feeling poorly about how these boys played tonight,” said Schmid, whose club dropped to 2-4 in region play and 5-7 overall. “(The Mustangs) did a great job. A couple more buckets or a couple things turn this way or that way, it’s a whole different story. Our boys could have easily come out on top, but it just didn’t happen today.”
“There’s one thing I’m happy with tonight and that’s we came out of it with a ‘W,’ ” Burke said. “I’m not too happy with the score of the game or how we played tonight. With the atmosphere that we had to play in front of tonight, we didn’t come out with any determination. That’s kind of disappointing.”
Greggs opened the second half with a triple and Coty Gander followed with a lay-up to put Lakeview up 29-11, but from there, it was all Mercer.
Aided by a 21-6 run over the third and fourth quarters, the Mustangs pulled to within 37-36 on Danny Miller’s lay-up with 2:26 left.
Lakeview (5-1, 12-2) chewed up almost 2 full minutes of clock on its next possession before committing a turnover.
Trailing 38-36, Mercer had a chance to knot the score at 38-all with 4 seconds left but missed both freebies and Lakeview’s Casey Greggs made 1-of-2 three seconds later to ice the game.
“When it comes to that point in the game, it looks like a big deal, but you can go back to those missed shots in the third quarter,” Schmid said. “We missed a fair amount then. Or, you could go back to the first half when we struggled offensively.
“The boys battled really hard to come back from the (18)-point deficit. I’m really proud of them. We’ve been in so many close games over the past five games. It’s come down to the fourth quarter in each of those games and our boys have never given up. We’ve just been on the short side of it. They believe in their ability and what they can do.”
While their outlooks on the game as a whole may have differed, both coaches had to be pleased with their charges’ efforts on the defensive end.
Lakeview’s offense looked out of sorts all night, making just 33 percent of its attempt from the field (13-of-39) and committing 11 turnovers.
“You got to give Mercer credit for coming back, but this game comes down to our lack of focus and our inability to take care of the basketball,” Burke said. “We generally had three to four guys standing around the entire night on the offensive end. We’re not trying to run a four-corner delay game for 32 minutes, but at times, it definitely looked like that. We preach ball movement and using our screens. When guys are standing flat footed and not really participating in the offense, you’re going to have nights when you only score 39 points.
“We ran some offensive sets to get some guys some open looks and we had guys in the wrong position. We couldn’t even get the sets off, because we weren’t mentally aware of where we needed to be. When you call a play and three guys know what it is and two others don’t, you’re not going to be successful. That was the story for the entire second half. We didn’t come to play for four quarters.”
Despite watching its offense struggle to find any rhythm, the Sailors buckled their chinstraps and harassed Mercer into 4-of-23 shooting and 13 turnovers in the first half to assume a 24-11 cushion entering intermission.
“I think they played really hard man,” Schmid said. “They’re up in your face and make it hard to penetrate. We wanted to penetrate and really couldn’t. With their pressure, it really affected our shooting percentage. When a team is playing man like that, you have to get open looks. They were few and far between for us, especially in the first half. We changed up our offensive scheme in the second half and that really benefitted us, because we were able to get some open looks.”
Notes: For the Sailors, Gander posted 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. … Greggs and Dalton Boggs combined for another 17 markers, 10 rebounds and 5 steals. … Nate Guiler led Mercer with 12 points, while Miller contributed 9. … Both teams had 33 boards. … Mercer never led. … Clarke had 4 assists and Guiler had 3. … Nate Brest had a game 6 rebounds, while Guiler, Vik Rymniak, Greggs, Boggs and Gander each had 5. … Each team missed 6 shots from the charity stripe. … Mercer had 13 turnovers.
In other action recently it was
See Them Rise Tourney
ä Campbell Memorial 66, George Junior Republic 63 — At the Covelli Centre in Youngstown Sunday, Campbell (4-10) held off a furious GJR (4-8) rally in the 4th quarter to beat the Tigers in the 2nd annual Lariccia’s “See Them Rise Showcase.”
Jeremy Vasquez (13), D.J. Harrison (12), George Billiris (12) and DaRon Clinkscale (11) scored in double digits for Campbell.
Nafis Brown scored 15 to lead GJR while Quamere Boggs and Dominic Barnes had 12 points each and Malik Gibson bucketed 11.
ä Hickory 81, George Junior Republic 58 — At “The Hive” in Hermitage, the Hornets had won in overtime in their past 2 games (vs. Franklin and Slippery Rock).
However Hickory (8-0, 10-2) led 14-10 after 8 minutes of play and 36-16 at halftime and rolled past the Tigers (2-6, 4-7) in the Region 5-AAA clash.
Matt Votino rifled in 22 points to lead Hickory while Marcus Sonoga bucketed 14, Anthony Cannone had 11 points and dished out 5 assists and Andrew Pryts added 10 markers.
Quamere Boggs had 16 to lead GJR, Dominic Barnes bucketed 13 and Eddie Pena had 10.
ä Lakeview 49, James-town 26 — At Stoneboro Saturday, the Lady Sailors (3-11) took a 24-4 lead after 8 minutes of play and rolled to victory in the non-region affair.
Chelsea Davis (14) and Casey Stringer (13) scored in double digits for Lakeview while Emily Robinson posted 13 points for the Lady Muskies (0-13).
MERCER COUNTY AREA —
STONEBORO — Looks certainly can be deceiving.
THE CHECKERED FLAG: April should bring welcome return of local racing
MOTHER NATURE’S last stronghold on winter may slowly be releasing her grip as the calendar changes to April and racing begins to get under way throughout the region.
Locally, nothing has happened yet, but that may soon be changing. Mercer had to postpone their “Chiller Thriller” to this Saturday (April 5), weather permitting, featuring the NDRL Northeast Super Late Models, NDRL E-Mods, Crate Late Models, and Stock Cars. Mercer’s regular season opener featuring their weekly divisions of “410” Sprints, “358” Modifieds, “305” Sprints, Stock Cars, Mod Lites, and Mini Stocks has now been pushed back to April 12.
Mercer boys bow in Guerino finals
The Hickory girls and Farrell boys captured championships on Saturday night at the 17th annual Buddy Guerino Underclassmen Basketball Tournament at Sharpsville High School.
The Hickory girls beat Kennedy Catholic, 41-29, for the crown while the Farrell boys topped Mercer, 76-35, for the title.
In the consolation games, Sharpsville defeated Sharon, 35-15, in girls hoops while the Sharon boys beat Hickory, 57-33.
EXTRA INNINGS: Bonds ruined opening day for Pirates fans
As this column begins today its 47th year, longtime readers no doubt expected to find what they have found at the beginning of every baseball season — predictions for upcoming summer.
And as I sat down last week to start to put together some ideas for today’s entry, that is fully what I anticipated would fill this space.
Well, I’m as surprised as you are; 2014’s season prognostications must wait until next week.
I just can’t get past the fact that club president Frank Coonelly thought the celebration of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first winning season in 21 years should include Barry Bonds.
You gotta be kidding me!
NCAA Football: Rock 6-1 after 17-3 win over Cal U
Slippery Rock University rode a length-of-the-field scoring drive by its offense and a goal-line stand by its No. 1-ranked defense late in the first half of action Saturday to a 17-3 win over 14th-ranked visiting California (Pa.).
NFL: Steelers top Jags as Mendenhall makes return
Mike Tomlin isn’t ready to say the Pittsburgh Steelers are back. Not after watching his team sleepwalk through the second half against Jacksonville on Sunday.
IndyCar Racing: Crash takes Wheldon’s life
Every race car driver heads onto the track understanding this race could be the last and hoping it won’t be. On Sunday, IndyCar drivers got a harsh reminder when the worst happened to one of their own.
NHL: Sabres beat Penguins 3-2
The Buffalo Sabres have had trouble with the Pittsburgh Penguins whether Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin play or not.
NHL Quick glance: Montreal at Pittsburgh
A breakdown of the National Hockey League game Thursday night between the Pittsburgh Penguins and visiting Montreal Canadiens.
High School Highlights: Oct. 19, 2011
A look at the last few days in local high school fall sports action.
Leading Off: Oct. 19, 2011
News and notes from the local, regional and national sports scene.
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- THE CHECKERED FLAG: April should bring welcome return of local racing