Summit Academy's 'D' defines comeback against A-R
Adam Petrosky used to work in Burbank, Calif,, where he helped produce television commercials.
On Friday night, the first-year coach of Summit Academy was having flashbacks to his product-pushing days.
Subliminal or otherwise, Petrosky, a Kiski Area grad, convinced his team that a man-to-man defense was the way to go in the second half. And the Knights were buying what he was selling.
Summit Academy flipped from a matchup-zone to straight man-to-man in the second half and staged a colossal comeback to clip Apollo-Ridge, 68-67, in a showdown for first place in Section 1-AA.
“We kept chipping away,” Petrosky said. “My wife left when we were down 20 to try and beat the snow. She won't believe what happened.”
Attempting to avenge an earlier loss to the fast-paced Knights (10-3, 5-0), Apollo-Ridge blew a 21-point third-quarter lead, including a 10-point advantage with 5:20 to play.
Looking uncomfortable with the large advantage and not content on chewing any clock, the Vikings (12-2, 4-2) faded after a fantastic three quarters.
The Vikings played without star guard Tre Tipton, who continues to nurse a left shoulder injury. Coach Matt Gourley's focus wasn't on Tipton's absence, but rather his team's 8-for-22 effort from the free-throw line.
“We lost this game at the foul line,” Gourley said. “With a team like Summit, you can never be too comfortable with a 20-point lead. We took some bad shots instead of pulling it out and had a some mental mistakes.”
Summit wasn't much better from the stripe, going 9-for-22, but the Knights sizzled down the stretch to bounce the home team.
Star guard Dasante White, who scored 30 against the Vikings on Dec. 20 and averaged 22 points per game, was held to nine on three 3-pointers.
Summit's Lemuel McFadden came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his 22 points.
“I drove here with (McFadden) and we talked about his improvement,” Petrosky said. “This is his first year playing. His basketball IQ and instincts are coming along.”
The Knights trailed 62-53 when McFadden converted a 3-point play and then scored on a putback and teammate Micheon Anderson-Meade's inside hoop got them within 62-60.
“I think with the zone we had some attention-span problems,” Petrosky said. “But they seemed energized when we went to man and that got us our focus.”
Taking advantage of rushed turnovers, Summit finally took its first lead on another second-chance basket by McFadden, who made it 64-63 with 1:15 left.
Dom Schrecengost scored on a drive for Apollo-Ridge for a 65-64 lead, but again it was McFadden with a driving layin and a free throw to make it 68-65 with 18.9 seconds.
Duane Brown's layup cut it to one with 5.4, but the Vikings ran out of time. The flurry hit with force and the damage was done.
Brown scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in the first half. Mitchell Johnston added 16 points, Alex Smith 11 and Marcus Stankus 10 for Apollo-Ridge.
Devin Montgomery scored 19 for Summit and Meade had 10.
Apollo-Ridge took a 38-27 lead into the half, and swelled the margin to 50-29 with a 12-2 run to open the third.
In the team's first meeting, which Summit won 75-67, Apollo-Ridge led by three heading to the fourth only to be outscored 26-15.
Friday night, they were outscored 27-13 in the final period.
“I thought we did a nice job of slowing down their pace a little bit,” Gourley said. “We wanted to shoot and immediately send guys back to defend and protect the basket. We did well with that. It's a process for us.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.