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Sports

Laurel Highlands rallies for win over Mt. Pleasant

| Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008

For most of Friday's Section 3-AAA boys basketball game between Mt. Pleasant and visiting Laurel Highlands, the Vikings were able to play with a lead.

But down the stretch, the Mustangs fought their way back and overcame a pair of early 8-0 runs by Mt. Pleasant to walk away with a tough 47-40 victory.

"I just thought we were a lot more sound on defense in the second half," Laurel Highlands coach Rick Hauger said. "We disrupted their tempo. When it came down to crunch time, I thought our kids did a real nice job."

Laurel Highlands (7-5, 2-1) didn't generate much of an attack in the first half, as Mt. Pleasant, behind three baskets from Luke D'Amico, rolled off eight straight points and earned a 12-9 lead. D'Amico finished with 11 points for Mt. Pleasant (4-9, 0-3).

The Mustangs stayed close and tied it at 12 early in the second on a 3-point shot from Mason Tupta, but Mt. Pleasant again responded with an 8-0 run to take a 20-12 lead. The Vikings led at the half, 22-17.

Unfortunately for Mt. Pleasant, the Mustangs were able to adjust their game, which allowed Kaleb Ramsey to get involved offensively.

Ramsey, who did not score in the first half, scored three baskets in the third quarter and finished with 10 points.

"In the first half, we were staying too tight and they got double-teams and triple-teams on Kaleb," Hauger said. "In the second half, we did a better job of spreading the floor."

Laurel Highlands was able to briefly take the lead in the third quarter, but Mt. Pleasant's Brad Fullman quickly got it back thanks to a pair of treys near the end of the frame. Fullman led the Vikings with 13 points and, after three quarters, Mt. Pleasant held a slim 32-31 lead.

The fourth quarter belonged to Laurel Highlands.

After D'Amico canned a 3-pointer to give the Vikings a 38-37 lead, the Mustangs stormed back and outscored the home team, 10-2, in the closing minutes.

Mike Iannamorelli and Nick Erminio each hit a clutch layup before Ethan Mildren sealed it with a jumper.

The loss was tough to take for Mt. Pleasant, especially after leading for most of the game. Still, Mt. Pleasant coach Tom Traynor was generally pleased with his team's performance.

"We've made steady progress," Traynor said. "This thing is a journey and we're hoping we can bang back in there with some section wins. This is probably the best we've played all season, but we're young and Laurel Highlands played well, too. We got a little slow, but overall, I thought our kids played well."

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