By Corey J. Corbin
Allied News Sports Correspondent
MERCER COUNTY AREA —
STONEBORO – Saturday evening’s showdown against George Junior Republic was for far more than a simple championship trophy for the Lakeview Sailors.
It was about preparing for a potential playoff berth against a quality athletic team in an intense atmosphere and in the end, the Sailors (2-0) walked away with a 62-48 victory as well.
“This was definitely a postseason intensity type of game,” Sailors coach Gary Burke said.
“It’s a good momentum boost for the rest of the season,” added senior Dalton Boggs. “This game was real important for us. George Junior is a good team. They have good athletes and they’re fast. This just prepares us for later down the road.”
The preparation included finding ways to shut down the opposing team’s best player – in this case Nafis Brown – and guarding against the other four players on the floor.
Brown finished the game with 20 points, but it came on 7-of-19 shooting.
“That was the thing we really focused on,” Burke said. “They were trying to set ball screens for (Brown) out on the perimeter, but there was
no roll after that ball screen, so we had the liberty to go out and double team the basketball after the ball screen and keep it out of Brown’s hands. I thought our kids did a good job of playing good team defense and boxing out at the end to grab some real big rebounds.
“Let’s not forget the defensive effort (Greggs) had on Brown. If it wasn’t for that, we wouldn’t have won by 14 points. I thought we did a really nice job of limiting his penetration to the hole. He is slippery and he’s quick as a cat, but for the most part, our kids really started to understand how to guard him. We forced him into some 27-footers. If you can force anybody into 27-footers, we’re going to be OK.”
Lakeview will be more than OK if they play as unselfishly as they did Saturday night. The Sailors finished with 17 assists on 22 field goals.
“Seventeen assists almost speaks for itself,” Burke said. “That’s typically the kind of basketball our kids play. Night-in and night-out, we’re in double digits for assists. That’s what we preach here at Lakeview. We don’t always have the best athletes out on the floor, so we have to the best TEAM. Wrote on the board before the game ‘We are the best underlined team.’ The kids went out and performed like that today.”
Lakeview also managed to get four players into double figures with Boggs leading the way with a game-high 27 points. He also finished with 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
“They tried to take Casey (Greggs) out of the game,” Burke said. “When they try to take your best player out of the game, your other best player needs to step up. That’s why those two are going to be scoring 1,000 points in their careers and end up being the best tandem to ever come out of Lakeview – as far as I’m concerned – to come out of Lakeview in the same year. Simply because if one’s off one night, the other one’s going to pick us up. Last night, it was Casey with a 20-plus point effort. Tonight, it was Dalton. Those kids have been best friends since second grade. Casey is just as happy for Dalton as Dalton was for himself. I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Boggs’ night included a 9-for-14 shooting effort from the field and five 3-pointers.
“They were in a zone and once I started shooting, they started to fall,” Boggs said. “Then, they went into a triangle and two on me and Casey. From there on out, we just played. It felt good, because we haven’t beat George Junior in a while. I think it was two years ago here that we did it. It was nice to win our own tip-off tournament and go 2-0. We’re looking forward to getting back to work on Tuesday (against Kennedy Catholic).”
The Sailors never trailed in the game and the closest GJR could get was 41-37 after a pair of O’shay Toney buckets in the third quarter.
“Lakeview was definitely the better team,” George Junior coach Pat Devine said. “They shot the ball well and didn’t make many mistakes. It’s pretty evident that they’ve been playing together since the fourth grade. That’s not an excuse. I told my guys they were better than us. If there were 82 things (to do to win a game), they did 80 of them right. Even balls that were bouncing off people’s feet, they were ending up with them. Sometimes, that happens.
“They hung in there. We cut it to six a couple of times, but we just couldn’t get over the hump. What I was proud of ... They played hard to the last second.”
Joining Boggs in double figures were Casey Greggs (12 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds), Coty Gander (11 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals) and Brandon Rice (12 points).
“I know the kids wanted this bad, because they still had a bad taste in their mouths after losing in the championship game by 3 to them (last year),” Burke said. “They definitely had something to prove tonight. I give my kids all the credit in the world. We had a game plan in place and we knew what we were going to see. (The Sailors) just executed when we had to.
“Casey is the best assist man on the team. He sees the floor better than anybody. I don’t even think Casey had an ‘off’ night. He just didn’t have the touches he normally has. They limited his touches. With that being said, he had a great night. Any player in this league would love to have 12 points a night.
“The kids know what we’re looking for and are able to find each other simply because they know what our purpose is. They know how the system works. With them knowing the system so well and having such experienced guys, we were able to get some easy lay-ups for each other. That is all a part of being unselfish and being disciplined about what you’re doing.”
No player aside from Brown reached double figures for George Junior (1-1), but Toney and Quamere Boggs evenly split for 18 points. Dom Barnes finished with 5 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and a block.
“It’s a long season,” Devine said. “I told the kids more or less this will be a good preview of what it’ll be like in a typical AAA game. This is what you get. These guys will be able to handle themselves in AAA, I’m sure.”
NOTES: The Sailors shot 63 percent from the field (22-of-35) and 50 percent from behind the three-point line (6-of-12). … Brown also had 4 steals and 4 rebounds. … GJR made only 17-of-46 attempts from the field. … Boggs had 6 rebounds and 3 steals. … Zach Van Dusen had 3 assists. … Lakeview had 19 turnovers – 16 in the second half – while the Tigers had 12. … Barnes fouled out of the game, while Brown and Malik Brown each had four for George Junior. … Gander and Rice were each whistled for four fouls.
ä George Junior Republic 58, Commodore Perry 15 — At Stoneboro, the Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 lead after the 1st quarter and 39-8 at halftime and cruised past the Panthers in the tourney’s opening game.
Nafif Brown led GJR with 10 points, 6 assists and 10 steals in the 1st half. He did not play in the 2nd half. Rasha Williams ripped down 14 rebounds for the Tigers.Brandon Stringert was the leading scorer for CP with 5 points.
ä Lakeview 59, North Clarion 36 — At Stoneboro, the Sailors advanced to the title game on Friday with a 23-point win over NC.
Casey Greggs fired in 22 points for the Sailors while Dalton Boggs scored 12 and Brandon Rice tallied 11. Mitch Obenrader scored a dozen for North Clarion.
ä Mercer 41, Union 37 — On Saturday, the Lady M’s led 29-17 at halftime,then held off a Union charge in the second half for the victory.
Mercer (1-1) was led by Alexis Arkwright with 15 points, including a pair of treys. The Heaney sisters had 13 and 11 for Union.
Friday 1st round
ä Mohawk 48, Mercer 42 — Grancola garnered 17 points and Brown bucketed 14 for Mohawk, which broke open a 10-all first-quarter stalemater via a 22-point 2nd stanza.
Alexis Arkwright annexed a game-high 21 points for Mercer, while Adelyn Cook connected for 10.
Grove City Kiser Classic
ä Grove City 41, Cochranton 39 — Grove City held off a fourth-quarter charge by the Lady Cardinals to win the tourney title.
Grove City led 21-20 at halftime then held Cochranton to only 3 points in a defensive third period. The Redbirds outscored the host club, 16-13, in the final frame, but it wasn’t enough to keep GC from the crown.
Arianna Sprando canned 14 points and Corianne Hyduchak 12 to spark the victory. Kendell Dickson had 11 points and Abby Clutow 10 in the losing effort.
ä Grove City 55, Greenville 35 — The Lady Eagles got off to a strong start in the Kiser tourney and moved to the finals.
Grove City built a 32-14 lead by halftime against the Lady Trojans and cruised home with the win. Leading the Lady Eagles were Jordyn Wyllie with 13 points and Danyelle Lucido with 10. For Greenville, Jessica Burnett had 11 markers.
West Middlesex Tipoff
ä Slippery Rock 40, West Middlesex 33 — WM only trailed 35-31 with 2 minutes remaining, but the Lady Rockets’ Haley Angerett sank 5 foul shots to secure the win for SR.
Angerett bucketed 15 for Slippery Rock while Alexis Summers scored 12 for the Ms. Reds.
Angerett and Morgan Siebka were named to the All-Tourney Team for SR, along with WM’s Summers and Kelsey Murray, CP’s Emily Kitchen and Lakeview’s Raegen Fisher.
ä Commodore Perry 39, Lakeview 27 — CP rebounded from Friday’s 47-28 loss to WM to capture the consy contest Saturday.
Katie Powell and Emily Kitchen both scored 12 points for the Lady Panthers while Chelsea Davis scored 9 for Lakeview.
Friday 1st round
ä Slippery Rock 72, Lakeview 18 — Slippery Rock roared to a 34-4 first-quarter lead and never looked back.
Haley Angerett and Nicole Papley produced 18 points apiece and Morgan Siebka scored 13 for the Lady Rockets.
Indiana Tipoff Consy
ä Indiana 56, Grove City 40 — With the score tied at 37 after 3 periods, the host team outgunned Grove City, 19-3, in the final frame to pull away for the victory.
Foster Reznor hit double digits for GC (0-2) with 10 points. Carter had 12 points to pace the winners.
ä Greensburg Central Catholic 62, Grove City 48 — Coach Don Fee’s Eagles played a solid 1st half, trailing only 36-35 at intermission, but went cold in the last 2 quarters. Grove City was held to 6 and 7 points respectively in the final pair of frames as the WPIAL power pulled away.
The Eagles were led by Derek Turner with 18 points, while Zach Herman had 26 points and Brian Graytock 25 to pace the winners.
Mercer Tipoff Classic
ä North East 36, Mercer 27 — The host Mustangs converted only 6 of 16 free-throw attempts and were outscored 16-9 during the decisive 4th period when the missed 3 of 5.
Nate Guiler garnered 14 points for Mercer (1-1), while BlakeBentley buckted 15 for the Grapepickers, who produced 8-for-10 free-throw accuracy.
Friday 1st round
ä Mercer 49, Moniteau 40 — The host Mustangs’ Logan Clarke collected a game-high 26 points, tossing in 2 treys and converting 4 of 5 freebies. Clarke contributed 11 of his points during the decisive 4th frame.
Andrew Armagost annexed 12 markers for Moniteau.
Ellwood City Shootout Semis
ä Sharpsville 59, Slippery Rock 55 (OT) — The Blue Devils rallied from a 43-33 deficit after 3 quarters by outscoring the Rockets 15-5 in the 4th frame to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, Sharpsville outgunned Slippery Rock 11-7 to pull out the close victory.
Jalen Mockabee led the winners with 17 points, while Tyler Luchey lent 12, Taylor Lenzi 11 and Kyle Kennedy 10. For the Rockets, Bobby Paczkowski had 16 markers, Ryan Currie 15 and Dustin Mellot 12.
Three Slippery Rock High wrestlers finished in the top four at the season opening 16-team HIT tournament in Hermitage Saturday. Forrest Christmann (285) bowed in the finals, 2-1, to Jeff Burger of Union City.
Dave Huselton placed third at 113, while Tim Kerr was fourth at 220. Coach Tyler Allen’s Rockets were 10th as a team.