West Shamokin hangs on to defeat Apollo-Ridge
By Bill West
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 11:42 p.m.
For almost eight minutes Wednesday night at Apollo-Ridge, the host Vikings found themselves in a scoring drought against West Shamokin.
Those Wolves failed to slow Apollo-Ridge in mid-December. But, with third place on the line in Section 1-AA, West Shamokin stepped up its efforts and stifled its opponent in the rematch.
Able to survive Apollo-Ridge's late rally, West Shamokin (10-9, 5-5) won, 59-53, to secure at least a share of third place. The Wolves led by one after the first quarter, six by halftime and 16 by the end of the third quarter. But the Vikings (14-7, 4-5) cut the deficit to four with about three minutes remaining in the game.
“I think Apollo-Ridge took us a little for granted,” said West Shamokin coach Mike Nagy, whose team lost, 67-52, at home on Dec. 21. “They had their way with us at our place, and our kids wanted to gain some respect back.”
After 3-pointers in consecutive possessions by Alex Smith, Apollo-Ridge led, 15-12, with 1:16 left in the first quarter. But Anthony Rocco's back-to-back buckets put West Shamokin ahead, 16-15, at the quarter break.
Those four points became part of a 14-0 run for West Shamokin. Rocco had six points during the run, Zac Horner had four, and Damon Craig had four.
Cody Billingsley's two free throws ended the drought with 1:27 left in the half.
The third quarter proved to be just as frustrating for the Vikings, who made seven of 21 field goals in the first half, including two of 10 3-point attempts. After a layup by Tre Tipton 14 seconds into the quarter, Apollo-Ridge was scoreless for four minutes. It finished with just six points in the quarter.
“It was one of our better defensive games,” Craig said. “We were all on the same page and clicking together.”
West Shamokin, meanwhile, continued to roll with a balanced offense and an effective 1-3-1 half-court zone defense.
Facing a potential home blowout as the fourth quarter started, Apollo-Ridge responded with its most dominant stretch of the game. Lucas Burrell managed a steal and a fast-break layup 30 seconds into the quarter. Then came a 12-0 run that included a fast break by Burrell, a floater in the lane by Josh Reynolds, a 3-pointer by Evan Davis and five points from Tipton, who finished with a team-high 16.
Rocco refused to watch his Wolves squander another fourth-quarter lead and took over, scoring eight of his game-high 26 points in the final 4:14.
“We fell behind, and I felt the kids started to panic a little bit and rush the shots,” Apollo-Ridge coach Matt Gourley said.
Apollo-Ridge will host Ford City (6-14, 2-7) Friday in its section finale.
“I think it makes a huge difference for the psyche of our team,” Gourley said of the loss. “I think it's important for us to go in (to the playoffs) as winners rather than just fighting for playoff positioning.”
Bill West is the local sports editor of the Leader Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.
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.
- Fourth quarter sinks Charleroi
- Franklin Regional girls win tournament crown
- Class AAA boys basketball preview: 6-11 transfer George Prota vaults Elizabeth Forward into contender status
- Connellsville pulls away in 3rd quarter to beat Baldwin
- Leader Times roundup: West Shamokin wins 1st tipoff tournament since ’08
- McKeesport boys split pair of tournament games
- Franklin Regional boys putting up points in bunches
- High school roundup: Vincentian’s Wolf scores 46 in victory
- Perz scores game-high 33 to lift Norwin past Monessen
- BVA drops opener, 72-56
- Girls teams from Karns City, Redbank Valley have title aspirations