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Steel Valley boys basketball team holds on to defeat West Mifflin

| Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, 12:09 a.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | Daily News
Steel Valley's Dom Keys grabs a loose ball after falling over a West Mifflin player on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, at Steel Valley.

Even though Tyler Lewis saw most of his action with the junior varsity this year, Steel Valley coach Shawn McCallister saw enough out of the 6-foot-9 junior the past couple of weeks to have him on the floor during the last few seconds of a tie game against crosstown rival West Mifflin.

If Ajan Smith hadn't fouled out with a little more than two minutes left in Wednesday's Section 4-AAA game, would Lewis have been in the game.

“Probably not,” McCallister said.

Lewis blocked a shot in an 80-80 game, put the Ironmen ahead with an inbound screen layup, grabbed a key rebound and forced Karlyn Garner to go the line to tie it with 6.3 seconds left.

He made only one, and Steel Valley (9-2, 4-2) withstood a late comeback by the Titans to come away with a 82-81 win.

West Mifflin, which got 27 points from Garner and 24 from Aaron Adams, led by as many as 10 in the first half before Steel Valley rallied to go ahead by 12 on two occasions in the second half, including with 2:48 left.

West Mifflin (6-4, 2-3) played without senior guard and leading scorer Ryan Maha, who has a sore knee. Maha has surgery scheduled for early February but will try to play through it. He doesn't play back-to-back games, and West Mifflin played Tuesday.

Dom Keyes led the way with 25 points and 18 rebounds. Derek Taylor added 20 points and Brandon Donovan had 15, including a trio of 3-pointers within a two-minute span of the third. Kennedy Smith chipped in 15 points off the bench, and Lewis had six rebounds, a blocked shot and two critical points with 32 seconds left — two points that the Ironmen figured they weren't going to need only minutes before.

When Taylor hit a shot with 2:48 left, it gave Steel Valley what appeared to be an insurmountable 80-68 lead.

But West Mifflin rattled off 12 quick points, and when Adams hit a second 3-pointer within a 35-second span, the score was tied at 80-80 with a minute left.

“We were going nuts because we didn't have any timeouts left and we couldn't stop their momentum,” McCallister said. “Our kids just had to do it on the court. I give them a lot of credit because they could've folded up and gone away.”

The Ironmen went to Lewis with a play they used earlier.

“It was a simple screen-over, and we run it all of the time,” Lewis said. “All I have to do is seal. There is nothing they can really do about it. All they can do is foul you.”

“Lewis is probably 6-9, 260 pounds, and the kid we had down there was 6-foot and 150 pounds,” West Mifflin coach Lance Maha said.

West Mifflin's Garner raced the length of the court and was fouled by Lewis with 6.3 seconds left. Garner missed the first and made the second.

“If I had Keyes and Lewis I would've missed on purpose and try to tap out,” Maha said.

“For us, the make is the better play, but listen, he is not on the line at the end of the game trying to tie it if he didn't have the game he had.”

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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