Steel Valley's Ironmen too strong for Belle Vernon Area
By Donnie Tasser
Published: Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, 1:01 a.m.
After a shaky start, the Belle Vernon Area Leps looked like they had the Steel Valley Ironmen on the ropes in their Section 4-AAA contest Wednesday night.
On the strength of five three-pointers, BVA overcame a rough first quarter to enter halftime only down four, 30-26.
But then Ajan Smith happened.
The Steel Valley senior guard exploded for 20 second-half points – and one tremendous dunk that put an exclamation mark on the game midway through the fourth – and the Ironmen (5-1, 1-1) cruised to an 81-47 win.
“He is a tremendous player” Steel Valley head coach Shawn McCallister said. “We told him before the game that we needed a big game out of him and then we really challenged him at halftime and he stepped up and really took over.”
It took the Leps nearly four minutes to get on the board in the first quarter before Billy Burrows hit a pair of identical threes from the corner to spark the home team. With SV big man Dom Keyes owning the paint, the Leps (2-2, 1-1) found it increasingly harder to penetrate the zone and resorted to perimeter shooting.
Travis Snyder would provide most of the offense for BVA in the first half, shooting 3 of 5 from beyond the arc, while Jason Capco added six points of his own in the quarter.
“They were playing a 3-2 zone and we were running some plays to either screen the ball up top or throw over the zone, looking for skips,” BVA coach Kyle DeGregorio said. “I think we played really tough, really hard and really smart in the first two quarters and that kept us in the game.”
But after a series of turnovers in the second quarter resulted in the Leps storming back to take a 23-21 lead, it was all Steel Valley from then on out.
The Ironmen started the third quarter on a 10-2 run to make it 40-28 before things started to get out of hand.
“Our intensity in the first half was way down,” McCallister said. “We didn't come out ready to play basketball and we told our guys at halftime that we need to turn up the intensity and pick up their game. We know what our abilities are and what we are capable of and in the second half the kids came out and played like we expected them to.”
Smith finished with a game-high 31 points and he was joined in double-digits by Keyes (14 points) and Dorian Broadwater (13 points). Keyes, Broadwater and Brandon Donavan combined for 23 second half points.
“We go into the half down four and we're right there, but then the third quarter hits,” DeGregorio said. “They are a talented group, just a really talented bunch of players and Coach McCallister does a real nice job with them. They're athletic, they are disciplined and they have been playing together for a long time; they are an experienced group.
“They took it to us for about a three-minute stretch in that third quarter where it was like a prize fight; we were dazed and they just kept coming. But to the kids' credit, I thought we fought hard until the end.”
Capco paced the Leps in scoring with 15 points while Snyder added 12 on the strength of four 3-pointers. Despite the fact that the Leps have been outscored 91-44 in the second half of their two losses, DeGregorio remains optimistic.
“My guys haven't been in a position where we have invested this much time or emotional energy in anything and, much like at Uniontown, I thought we just ran out of some emotional gas at the end there,” DeGregorio said. But we will get better. Tonight is one night, that's all it is. We are 1-1 in the section and now we go to Christmas break and some extended practice time to figure out what our identity is before we hit section play again.”
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.
- PIAA boys basketball roundup: Chartiers Valley pulls out first-round victory
- PIAA girls basketball roundup: Mt. Lebanon ousted in first round
- North Allegheny girls enjoy ‘bounce back’ win over WPIAL champion Penn-Trafford
- Seton-La Salle girls cruise past Blairsville
- Minnie paces Lincoln Park in PIAA opening-round rout of Johnsonburg
- Charleroi’s Woytovich makes 5-AA first team
- Burrell girls eye improvement even after easy win in PIAA opener
- Breaking down the PIAA boys basketball playoffs
- Penn-Trafford girls top rival Hempfield to win 1st WPIAL title
- Fast start again fuels Hempfield girls to victory
- ‘Lucky’ Monessen survives in 2 OTs