Trib Cup: Neshannock boys riding early wave of success
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Neshannock boys basketball team is riding a wave of success this season as the Lancers enter 2014 on a six-game winning streak.
Led by coach John Corey, the Lancers sit atop Section 2-AA with an 8-1 overall record and 3-0 mark in section play. The early success is nothing new for this Neshannock group, which had an identical record through nine games last season.
For Corey, it's all about continuing to play the style they're accustomed to in order to lock up a possible section championship.
“We've been fortunate to play well through this first month so we just have to keep it up,” he said. “We have a lot more basketball to play and if you look at our schedule, we have some tough competition coming up.”
For their play this season, the Lancers are highlighted as this week's Trib Total Media/WPXI High School Sports Award feature team, and they are a primary reason why Neshannock is in sixth place in the Class AA standings.
Neshannock's early fortunes can be attributed to having seven regular players return from last year's team and a newfound scheme of consistent scoring.
Last year, the Lancers relied heavily on the production of Ernie Burkes. The senior guard is back this season, scoring 17.9 points per game, but the load is no longer on his shoulders as several other players have stepped up.
Senior guard Matt McKinney leads the team, averaging 19.2 points. Sophomore Ethan Moose (11.9 ppg), Jimmy Medure (8.8), Ty Haswell (8.1) and Matt Seltzer (4.6) round out a formidable rotation.
“We're really seeing this year the importance of all the guys giving a solid collective effort,” Corey said. “A lot of these guys were sophomores and juniors last year and are now juniors and seniors.
“A lot of guys have stepped up to contribute and you can see the maturation still taking shape, and that's only going to make us better.”
Corey said he likes that the Lancers play an unselfish brand of basketball with their ability to distribute the basketball and play fierce defense. Neshannock while scoring a section-best 80 points per game, also allows a section-low 50 points per game.
Combined with the experience that has been gained in recent years and unselfish play, Corey said this group is as consistent a team as he's ever coached.
“We've got the ability to play several different types of defenses because the older guys are understanding the game more,” he said. “We've changed our defense on the fly and altered the styles and we've handled it well.”
While his numbers on the stat sheet are modest, Corey said the return of Marcus Giangiuli from a season-ending injury last year will be crucial down the stretch. Corey described Giangiuli as a defender who would “go through a brick wall for this team.”
“You need layers like Marcus as the season wears on,” Corey said. “I'm sure he'll help keep us fresh down the stretch and have no problem defending some of these good players we're about to see.”
The Lancers will have their first opportunity of the new year to see where they stand in the section when they meet also unbeaten Section 2 foe Aliquippa (5-3, 3-0) Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Brian Graham is a freelance writer.
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.
- Distracted Steelers show nothing in loss to Eagles
- Steelers notebook: Keisel dresses, but doesn’t play
- NFL could delay punishment
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability
- New Kensington slaying victims identified
- Will soft foes mean fast start to the season for Pitt football team?
- Highlands WR serves as speedy complement to his RB brother
- Pittsburgh city vehicle repair delays elicit gripes about Cincinnati company
- Belle Vernon golfer Lubriani wins Fayette County tournament
- Pirates’ Axford overcame long odds to reach majors
- Many in Pennsylvania can still get benefit of Affordable Care Act