No. 3 Hempfield handles Connellsville to stay unbeaten in section
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Connellsville boys basketball team turned in one of its best efforts of the season Friday against visiting Hempfield. However, the first-place Spartans are used to getting everybody's best, and they certainly know how to handle it.
Despite big games from Trent Bauer, Jimmy Leichliter and Jade Maher, Connellsville couldn't overtake No. 3 Hempfield as the Spartans pulled away late for a 70-57 victory in Section 1-AAAA action.
“I thought our kids played hard,” Connellsville coach Dan Bosnic said. “Hempfield is a good basketball team, and the score isn't indicative of what happened in this basketball game.”
What happened was that the Spartans found themselves in a dogfight for nearly the entire game.
“We tell the kids that they have to understand that we are going to get everybody's All-American effort,” Hempfield coach Mark Marino said. “When they get three consistent scorers going, they are difficult to stop, but we responded to their great offensive plays.”
From the start, the game was played at a high pace. An uptempo first quarter was mostly led by the Falcons as Maher knocked down three 3-pointers and Bauer hit three baskets from down low. Bauer finished with 16 points and Maher ended with 13 points.
But despite their fast start, the Falcons (9-8, 3-5) couldn't shake the Spartans (14-1, 8-0) as Logan Hunter, Michael Nauman and Kason Harrell kept Hempfield close.
Then in the closing seconds of the first quarter, Nauman stole the ball and buried a shot to give the Spartans a 22-20 edge.
Harrell led all scorers with 24 points, and Nauman and Hunter collected 16 and 15 points, respectively.
In the second quarter, the Falcons got into foul trouble but stayed in the game with a gritty effort highlighted by a 3-pointer from Mike Parlak. At the half, Hempfield led 36-29.
“We got into a situation in the second quarter with three starters down (with foul trouble), but we maintained,” Bosnic said.
The Falcons closed the gap in the third quarter with Leichliter hitting a couple of shots to help the Falcons pull within 48-44 heading to the fourth. Leichliter finished with 14 points.
Connellsville hung tough early in the quarter but never could put together a rally to overtake Hempfield.
Each time the Falcons tried to make a run, Nauman and Harrell were there to respond with a big-time shot to keep the visitors out in front.
Harrell, in particular, made big plays down the stretch. He, along with Nauman, Hunter and Tony Pilato, also came up big from the foul line with the game on the line.
Foul shooting was one aspect of the game that was a disappointment for Connellsville. The Falcons were 6 of 12 from the line compared to Hempfield's 19-of-25 effort.
“The difference was the little things,” Bosnic said.
But overall, it was a game the Falcons hope they can build on as they try to make a second-half push to qualify for the playoffs.
“I'm disappointed we lost, but I'm not disappointed in the effort,” Bosnic said. “Hempfield is winning the section for a reason. Hopefully we can play our best basketball moving forward.”
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. Reach him at email@example.com.
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.
- Riverview hires Sapotichne to coach boys basketball
- Decision to leave Seton-La Salle ‘tough’ for new North Allegheny girls basketball coach
- Knoch’s Hannes already testing surgically repaired knee
- Springdale hires veteran assistant for girls basketball post
- Shady Side Academy’s Groff brothers set for Maccabi Games