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Hempfield hands Connellsville its first defeat of season

| Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012

Tuesday's battle for a share of first place in Section 1-AAAA between the Connellsville and Hempfield boys basketball teams came down to energy and intensity. The Spartans found it late, and the Falcons could never seem to grasp it.

Hempfield scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and rolled to a 60-47 victory over host Connellsville.

"In the first quarter, we came out a little sluggish and didn't have energy," Hempfield coach Jim Nesser said. "We talked about energy, and in the second half, we started to click a little bit. We knew this was going to be a war, and we were lucky enough to win."

For the Falcons (7-1, 2-1), it was the first time they left the floor on the short end of the score, and several factors played a role in Connellsville's defeat.

"It was a combination of things," Connellsville coach Dan Bosnic said. "I thought they played good offensively and defensively, and we didn't play with the intensity we needed to. We could never get going. We just didn't have it."

Hempfield freshman Kason Harrell and senior Lane Waltenbaugh provided the necessary offensive punch for the Spartans (7-1, 3-0). Harrell finished with a game-high 21 points, and Waltenbaugh scored 16.

Both players were instrumental in helping the Spartans put together a 7-0 run in the third quarter to help the visitors take a 39-32 lead. It was a lead Hempfield never relinquished, thanks to a dominant fourth quarter in which it outscored Connellsville, 18-9.

"Lane has played outstanding all year," Nesser said. "He makes big plays, and that's what we expect from him. And number 32 (Harrell) is a great player with a great passion for the game."

Hempfield also played well defensively, using a full-court press that at times seemed to give the Falcons trouble. Paul Martin (14 points) and Adam Siecinski (12 points) were the Falcons' top scorers

Connellsville, on the other hand, was not happy with its defense, especially early on.

"Defensively, we gave up 32 points in the first half and we felt like we didn't make them earn it," Bosnic said. "For whatever reason, we didn't have the intensity and it was the difference in the game."

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