Belle Vernon Area drops opener, 72-56
The Kyle DeGregorio era began at Belle Vernon Area Tuesday night and if the Leps' 72-56 loss to visiting Uniontown is any indication, BVA's losing ways may not last long.
The Leps played hard and hustled all over the court against the up-tempo Raiders (3-0) and were in the game until a disastrous stretch in the second half of the third quarter.
The teams were tied after the first period, 17-17, and the score was deadlocked at halftime, 32-32.
But after BVA's Travis Snyder scored with 5:34 left in the third period to bring BVA within two points (39-37), Uniontown outscored the hosts 17-4 the rest of the quarter to take a commanding 56-41 lead into the fourth quarter.
“I don't think it was their pressure so much that did us in there as it was our not finishing the plays at the end of the press,” said DeGregorio of the fatal spurt. “We had our possessions in a row where we came down and couldn't convert. I don't think we were out-matched. We just have to learn how to finish.”
The Leps trailed by 20 points early in the fourth quarter, 62-42, when Lyric Ellis scored for Uniontown, but the hosts scored the next eight points to cut the gap to 12 with 4:08 to play, but that was as close as they would get.
“The kids played hard and we couldn't sustain in the second half,” DeGregorio said. “We're not the old Belle Vernon team. I have good athletes and I have great kids. They have a capacity to work very hard and they are intense.
“We're just going to go back and watch the film and see how we can get better.”
The Leps had problems with Uniontown's Jordan Pratt, who scored a game-high 27 points. Pratt scored nine in the first quarter and notched 11 points during the 17-4 run in the third.
Joe Campbell added 13 for the Raiders.
BVA was led by Jason Capco with 19 points, 11 coming in the first half when the Leps went into intermission tied.
Snyder and Phil Baldini each contributed 13 points.
“Am I disappointed? Certainly,” DeGregorio said. “We don't have moral victories here anymore. You either win or you lose, it's that simple. And we're not going to like losing. We will watch the film and we have Mt. Pleasant (tonight) and we're going to get right back at it and go after them.”
The Leps and Vikings will tip off at 7:30 p.m.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.