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McKeesport takes advantage of Woodland Hills' slow start

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By Keith Barnes
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, 12:10 a.m.

Woodland Hills players kept looking up at the scoreboard throughout the first quarter of their game Friday against McKeesport.

It wasn't that the game was close. The Tigers were, in fact, busy opening up a double-digit lead.

The Wolverines kept looking up in the hope that they might actually have the zero under the home team replaced with a positive integer.

Woodland Hills (3-7, 0-4) was held scoreless for the first 12 minutes, 17 seconds of the game, and McKeesport took advantage of the Wolverines futility to open the game with a 22-point run en route to a 57-46 victory in the first of their two Section 2-AAAA matchups.

“Right now, at the beginning of games, we've been getting off to a bit of a slow start, but that was just a little bit much to overcome,” Woodland Hills coach Odell Miller said. “I'm not going to lie; in the first half I was embarrassed, and I'm sure the kids were, but before the night was over, I was proud of their effort.”

Woodland Hills did not score a point until Tom Greene made the second of two free throws with 3:43 remaining in the second quarter, and the Wolverines first basket came on a Brian Baker putback 13:50 into the game.

After the hoop, McKeesport held a 26-4 lead.

“I've never been a part of anything like that,” McKeesport coach Corey Gadson said. “Some of it was us, and some of it was that they missed some bunnies and some easy shots. But we've been talking about our starts because, even in our wins, our starts have been slow, and we just made a conscious effort not to turn it over and make the right decisions.”

McKeesport (7-3, 3-1) worked at its own pace throughout much of the first half as it opened up a 13-0 lead after the first quarter. The Tigers, who were led by 11 points from senior guard Carlitto Acie, were 6 of 14 from the floor in that time and committed only one turnover.

In the meantime, Woodland Hills could do nothing right. The Wolverines missed their first 14 shots from the floor, their only two free throws and committed 12 turnovers before finally breaking the scoring drought.

Even though Woodland Hills was held scoreless for most of the first half, it eventually put things together and nearly made a game of it after the intermission. Twice the Wolverines cut the deficit to 11, but they were never able to slice it down to single digits and force McKeesport out of its comfort zone.

“Everything we did to game plan for that game, we did not do and, at halftime, we talked about the things that we didn't do and the things that we needed to do to turn it around in the second half,” Miller said. “We gave up so many points we had to do something different, and we started playing a full-court man and, when we did that ... the effort gave us a lift and we had a little hope there in the second half.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @KBarnes_Trib.

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