Mt. Pleasant holds off Southmoreland's rally
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Friday's Section 3-AAA boys basketball finale between Mt. Pleasant and host Southmoreland wasn't exactly a nail-biter, but it wasn't a blowout either. The Vikings built a 27-point lead yet were forced to withstand a strong second-half effort from the Scotties before coming away with a 79-66 victory.
“In our last six games, we have won five of six, and the kids are really coming together,” Mt. Pleasant coach Tony Splendore said after the Vikings (13-9, 8-4) had five players score in double figures. Mt. Pleasant finished in third place in Section 3-AAA and will learn its WPIAL playoff matchup on Tuesday.
Mt. Pleasant came out with a strong push and quickly built a 10-0 lead. Marcus Malara, Mitch Matlas, Luke Liprando, Ryan Gumbita, Tyler Mellors and Dante Porter each scored in the first quarter as the Vikings gained an 18-9 advantage.
Malara led the Vikings with 19 points, followed by Gumbita (15), Liprando (14), Mellors (13), Matlas (10) and Porter (eight).
“When you look at our scoring, we are really spreading the ball around, and they are unselfish,” Splendore said.
Mt. Pleasant had no trouble putting points on the board, but putting the Scotties (0-20, 0-12) away proved to be more difficult.
In the second quarter, Southmoreland's Zac Black scored nine of his 14 points to help the Scotties pull to within 26-20. But after the Scotties closed the gap, the Vikings responded with a 14-0 run and took a 44-26 lead into the half.
Mt. Pleasant's lead swelled to 27 points in the third quarter, but Southmoreland wouldn't go away. Mike Mucha (15 points), Justin Livengood (14), Randy Ohler (13) and Black each hit big shots to help Southmoreland inch closer.
In the fourth, Ohler made a shot with four minutes left to pull the Scotties to within 75-64, but the Vikings allowed Southmoreland to get no closer. However, the Scotties' rally can't be overlooked, especially considering the team has endured a winless season to date.
“For being 0-20, the attitude is great, and their fight is good,” Southmoreland coach Frank Muccino said. “But you can't spot a team a 27-point lead. We made up 16 points, and we were still down 11. If it was a five-point deficit, we would have been up nine. But they just kept working hard. They are resilient, and we've definitely seen improvement. It's just a matter of consistency.”
The Scotties will have one last shot at a victory when they host Waynesburg in a nonsection game Monday.
For the Vikings, a grueling week that featured three games in four days provided them with a tough test as they get ready for the postseason.
“Playing three games in a week is difficult,” Splendore said. “We played a great first half, but then in the second half, our defense wasn't there and we let them back in the game.”
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Wrong-way driver causes head-on crash in Center
- Rossi: After L.A., NFL should tread carefully
- Couple attempts theft at North Huntingdon Walmart
- Man taken to hospital after New Alexandria house burns
- Starter Liriano strikes out 12, leads Pirates to series sweep of Mets
- Pirates notebook: Substance rule a sticky subject
- Kennywood fanatic, 82, rides Jack Rabbit 95 times in a row
- Neighbor arrested after McKeesport house fire, authorities say
- Acme man’s ephemeral sculptures appear to defy laws of physics
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Marlins, May 25, 2014
- Cochran repair center planned in Harrison