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Kiski Area gets defensive to earn 1st section win over Connellsville

| Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 11:04 p.m.
Connellsville's Caleb Pittsment (25) for cutout photo Lori Padilla/For the Daily Courier

It didn't take long for the Kiski Area boys basketball team to find a defensive strategy that worked against Connellsville during Friday's Section 1-AAAA contest.

Early in the first quarter, the visiting Cavaliers employed a zone-press defense, and the results paid dividends for most of the game as Kiski took advantage of numerous Connellsville turnovers and also hit six 3-pointers on its way to a 54-42 victory.

The Cavaliers, with their strong defensive play, were able to control the flow of the game.

“Tempo of the game is important for us, and we wanted to get after it,” Kiski coach Harry Rideout said. “We didn't take care of the ball late, but for the most part, we were able to do what we wanted. We wanted to make their guards make plays in open space, so we extended our zone press. We gave up 42 points, and just 11 at halftime, and I'll take that.”

Connellsville's struggles against Kiski's defensive pressure seemed to come as a bit of a surprise to Falcons coach Dan Bosnic.

“Kiski hadn't shown that look since last year when they played us, but we prepared for it,” Bosnic said. “We're just not there right now.”

Although the game was close early, Kiski began pulling away thanks to an 11-0 run that gave the Cavaliers (6-4, 1-2) a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. Adam Robison, who finished with a game-high 20 points, hit a key 3-pointer in the second quarter.

And before the half was over, Michael Simmons, who finished with 13 points, completed a rare 4-point play as he made a 3-pointer and an accompanying foul shot to send the Cavaliers into the half with a 23-11 advantage.

For Connellsville, the first half was marked by turnovers and a scoring drought that lasted nearly the first six minutes of the second quarter.

“That was the difference,” Bosnic said. “It's tough for us right now. We're seeing progress, but it's not showing in the games. The kids need to gain confidence.”

The Falcons (2-8, 0-3) briefly gained some momentum in the third quarter on a couple of quick baskets by Trent Bauer, who finished with a team-high 18 points.

“I thought (Trent) did a better job of finishing, and he was stronger in the second half,” Bosnic said. “He's working hard to get better, just like all the kids are.”

Despite Bauer's production, the Cavaliers continued to build on their lead.

Leading 39-26 heading into the fourth, Kiski put the clamps on the game with a seven-point burst to start the quarter. Robison finished strong, scoring seven points in the fourth quarter to help the Cavaliers get their first section win of the season.

“It was our biggest win of the year,” Rideout said. “We're happy to get this win, especially on the road.”

Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.

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