Balanced scoring guides Deer Lakes past rival Burrell
For the second time in as many games, the Deer Lakes boys basketball team had four players score in double figures.
The quartet of performances — 12 points from both Jake Kelly and Josh Solomon off the bench and 11 each from starters Jake Spirnock and Noah Darsie — spurred the Lancers to a 58-50 win Monday over former section rival Burrell.
“We need that balance,” Deer Lakes coach Terence Parham said. “You can't be a one-man show at this point in the season. The kids are unselfish, maybe too unselfish at times. But we like the fact we are spreading the ball around.”
Deer Lakes (12-10) snapped a four-game losing skid against Burrell. The Bucs had swept the Lancers the past two seasons.
The Lancers gained another slice of momentum to add to Friday's victory over Freeport, which finished second in Section 1-4A. Deer Lakes, in the playoffs for the first time since 2013, has won six of its past eight games.
“We had a tough letdown against Valley, and going into Freeport, that game could've gone either way,” Parham said.
“But we found a way to win that game, and (Monday's) game against another rival gave the guys a lot of confidence moving forward.”
Burrell fell to 8-14 overall, but it rallied to go 7-4 down the stretch after a 1-10 start that included games against several bigger opponents.
“That was a tough, playoff-like environment,” Bucs coach Shawn Bennis said.
“They had senior night, it was a good crowd, and their students were really into the game. But we didn't quit down the stretch. We just had one- or two-minute stretches here and there where we had mental lapses and didn't play defense the way we're capable. They took advantage of that and knocked down their shots.”
Burrell opened an 8-0 lead on the strength of six points from Max Garda.
The Bucs senior fouled out with about three minutes to play but not before tallying 15 points. Nick Kotecki led Burrell with 19 points and eight rebounds before also fouling out with about a minute left.
Deer Lakes rallied from the early deficit to lead 13-8 after the first quarter. A slim 21-20 advantage at the break was extended to seven at the end of three and ballooned to 54-37 with 1:18 left in regulation.
All 11 of Spirnock's points came in the second half. Solomon's 12 points were on four 3-pointers, as the long-range Lancers hit eight 3s overall.
Darsie recorded eight of his 11 points in the first half, aided by a pair of 3-pointers.
Alex Nichols just missed double figures with eight points.
“Our guards did a good job of keeping their heads up, getting in the paint and creating high-percentage shots for Spirnock, Nichols and others,” Parham said.
The WPIAL playoff pairings, with times, dates and locations, are to be released at 7 p.m. Tuesday.