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Ford City's offense awakens in nonsection win over Leechburg

| Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, 11:30 p.m.

Ford City had been struggling to score points, while Leechburg hadn't had scoring troubles. On Monday night, those trends reversed.

The Sabers came out with their best offensive performance of the year, and Leechburg was unable to match them in a nonsection win at home for Ford City, 72-47.

Jesse Sequeira had game-highs of 21 points and nine assists to lead the Sabers (3-2), and teammates Blake Bower and Jon Karabin added 10 points. Ben Ritchie led Leechburg (3-2) with 13 points.

The game was decided in the second and third quarters, after Ford City finished the first period with a 19-16 lead. The Sabers outscored Leechburg, 42-9, over the next 16 minutes.

“I kept telling our guys that eventually we'd break out of our slump, and tonight we did,” Ford City coach Greg Hutcherson said. “The shooting was great, and defensively, we locked them down and held them to 25 points for a long span of time. We've been preaching defense, and they stepped up and responded tonight.”

Sequeira and Bower played a big part in Ford City finding the offensive flow.

That pair combined for a number of pick-and-roll and back-door cut plays that resulted in either an easy layup or an open look for a teammate outside. The Sabers cashed in on the open looks, as Karabin hit a pair of 3-pointers and Mikey Kunst knocked down three from behind the arc.

“We've always started slow, but tonight we came out well, especially in that big second quarter,” Hutcherson said. “Blake Bower and Jesse Sequeira really led us with that, and it was with things that some people don't even see in the stands — setting solid screens, rolling to the basket and communicating.”

On the other hand, Leechburg was unable to find a rhythm one game after scoring 83 in a win over Aquinas Academy. Almost all of the Blue Devils struggled with their shot, and the offensive woes led to problems in other aspects of the game for Leechburg.

“I think we were 7 for 47 (shooting) after three quarters, and that makes it difficult to do what we want to,” Leechburg coach Damian Davies said.

“We've got an experienced team, but if you don't make shots, it's tougher to get back and mix things up defensively. We just weren't able to string together a couple shots in a row and create some momentum.”

Ford City also had a 41-26 rebounding edge, and it was able to do so without injured 6-foot-6 forward Brandon Heilman. The Sabers have won two in a row and have one more game before section play begins Friday against Deer Lakes.

“We've got nice group of seniors, and some kids who can shoot the ball,” Davies said. “We're confident in them, but tonight, it didn't happen.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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