Boys basketball bounces back for two wins
There were lessons to be learned for Penn-Trafford at the Shady Side Academy Christmas Tournament, and if the last two games were any indication, the Warriors were quick studies.
P-T rebounded from an opening-night loss to Obama Academy, 81-77, to score wins over Highlands, 70-44, and in overtime against Class AAAA No. 4 Bethel Park, 73-72, last week at Shady Side's Senior School campus in Fox Chapel.
Dorian Stevens provided the heroics in the final game with a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds remaining to give Penn-Trafford (7-2) the win. Corey Stanford led P-T with 23 points, while Bethel Park (8-1) was led by Rohan Young's 28.
That win and the dominating performance against Highlands (0-9), in which Andy Abreu scored 28, and Christian Rohaus scored 23, were a strong response after a disappointing loss to Obama (6-1), the favorites this year to win the City League.
Abreu and Stanford both scored 23, and the Warriors led after each of the first three quarters, but P-T was unable to stop the up-tempo play of the Eagles, who were led by 25 points from D.J. Porter, the son of former Pitt star Darelle Porter.
“If you give up 81 points, you're not winning the game,” Penn-Trafford coach Ryan Yarosik said after the loss. “You've got to keep guys in front of you defensively, and for whatever reason, not a single person on the floor could do that for us.”
The Warriors entered the final quarter with a 59-56 lead, but back-to-back turnovers allowed Obama to score the first six points and take the lead for good.
Each time Penn-Trafford cut into the lead, often through Stanford, who had 11 points in the final quarter, the Eagles were able to answer with drives by Calique Jones (18 points) and Porter or inside hoops by Lamont Butler (16 points).
Penn-Trafford did have a chance to tie the game late after Obama missed four of its last five free throws, but 3-point attempts by Stevens and Stanford were off the mark in the final 20 seconds.
“As coaches, you can tell the guys transition defense, you can tell them protect the basketball, but at some point the players have to go out and execute,” Yarosik said.
“We just have to get back to work because defensively, this game was a disaster. Let's just say they're lucky to have a game (the next day) and not practice because it would be brutal.”
Yarosik got the improved defense he sought in the next two games, as his players held Highlands to 31 points in the first three quarters.
And though Bethel Park did score 65 points in regulation, Penn-Trafford did a good job increasing the tempo against the plodding style of the very tall Black Hawks, who only once allowed more than 47 points in a game this year before Saturday's P-T win.
After last week's experience, Penn-Trafford jumps back into Section 1-AAAA play with a key matchup at 7:30 p.m. Friday, when the team travels to Hempfield (7-3).
The Spartans currently are 2-1 in section play, and will be trying to keep pace with P-T and Norwin, the last two unbeaten teams in section play.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or email@example.com.