Ligonier Valley Rams win 1, lose 1
Facing a pair of conference opponents, the Ligonier Valley High School boys basketball team traveled to Penns Manor to score a 70-49 victory, then lost a close one 58-56 when Saltsburg hit a last-second 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. These results bring the Rams' season record to 6-11.
Double-digit scoring from three Ligonier players, as well as a strong defensive game with 18 total steals gave the Rams the sixth win of the season. Ligonier and Penns Manor ended the first quarter neck-in-neck with the Rams up 14-13. A strong offensive performance gave Ligonier a comfortable 34-22 lead at halftime. Twelve Rams points to eight for the Comets kept Ligonier ahead after three periods. Penns Manor came close to matching Ligonier in fourth-quarter scoring, 24-19, but by then the lead was too long and the Rams brought home the conference victory.
Point guard Collin Smith led the way for the Rams, scoring 17 points in the game, nine of them in the fourth quarter, as well as three steals. Scott Fennell put up 15 points and made four steals. In one of his best games of the season, Alex Tutino scored 13 points, including three from behind the 3-point arc and also made three steals. Justin Hugo sank two three-pointers and scored 12 points total. Jordan Jones scored eight points and blocked three shots. Jake Nemeth and Nate Mattis each contributed two. Nemeth also made five steals.
Despite 30 points from Smith, Ligonier had trouble on the offensive boards, grabbing only seven rebounds on the night, compared to 24 in the defensive end. A 22-point second quarter gave the Rams a 36-31 lead going into halftime. However, Saltsburg's 27 points in the second half were enough to overcome Ligonier's 20 points in the third and fourth quarters.
The freshman Smith's season high scoring total included three from behind the arc and he also grabbed six rebounds. Jones helped Ligonier's scoring with 13 points. Nemeth put up 10 points and Hugo sank a 3-pointer. Fennell contributed six rebounds on defense.
The Rams return to the home court for senior night 7 p.m. Friday when they take on conference opponent Purchase Line.
Peter Turcik is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.