Laurel Highlands' free throw shooting the difference in win
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The third time was not a charm for the Mt. Pleasant boys basketball team during Tuesday's Section 3-AAA thriller with visiting Laurel Highlands.
After fighting back from a seven-point second-half deficit, the Vikings were in position to break a 52-52 tie with 14 seconds left in regulation. Mt. Pleasant got off three potential game-winning shots in the closing seconds. However, all of those shots narrowly missed, giving the Mustangs new life as the game headed to overtime.
And in the extra session, the Mustangs' Michael Hooper hit two key baskets, and Nick Lancaster drained four free throws to help Laurel Highlands post a 67-60 victory. With the win, Laurel Highlands (11-5, 7-1) remains tied with Uniontown atop the section standings.
“The thing about it is that we didn't come out with any less intensity than they did,” Laurel Highlands coach Rick Hauger said. “They took the initiative in the second half, but then it was a game that had its runs. They were dominating us on the boards, and I think our big guys were a little tired. Mt. Pleasant was relentless and physical. We just tried to fight it off.”
The Mustangs got solid efforts from Keith Liptock and Joe Pegg. Liptock finished with a game-high 21 points and Pegg followed with 18. Hooper finished with 10. Lancaster and Shane Guthrie each added nine. Laurel Highlands hit 20 of 24 free throws.
“That's three games in a row we've had strong foul shooting,” Hauger said. “Foul shooting makes the difference, and the guys are stepping up.”
For the Vikings, it was a valiant effort that came up just a bit short.
“Our kids showed a lot of guts coming back in the second half,” said Mt. Pleasant coach Tony Splendore, citing a 29-22 third-quarter deficit.
Marcus Malara had a strong game inside and finished with a team-high 14 points. Cody Monroe played tight defense and also hit some clutch shots on his way to an 11-point effort. Ryan Gumbita and Mitch Matlas each hit two 3-pointers, with Gumbita connecting for 10 points. Luke Liprando and Dante Porter each had eight points.
Mt. Pleasant (8-7, 4-3) started to take control of the game in the third quarter, but couldn't pull away as Liptock scored 10 points in the quarter to help keep Laurel Highlands in front, 41-38.
But with 1:20 remaining in regulation, Monroe got a steal and hit a lay-up to put Mt. Pleasant in front, 52-50. However, the Mustangs tied it, which set up Mt. Pleasant's last-second opportunities. The Vikings went for the win on the final possession, but couldn't get one of the final three shots to fall, opening the door for the Mustangs in overtime.
“We had three chances to score at the end of the game,” Splendore said. “We did a good job of holding for the last shot, but it just didn't fall.”
After grabbing an early lead in overtime, the Mustangs were able to stay in front by hitting nine of 10 foul shots. The Mustangs have won five in a row while the Vikings have lost two straight.
Jason Black is staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fox Chapel girls basketball coach Meabon steps down after 5 seasons
- Belle Vernon coach’s family bonds through basketball