Roundup: Preston-led Big Reds roll in 4th frame, outlast gritty Greyhounds, 60-43

·16 min read

Jan. 8—WEST MIDDLESEX — While a win is a win, West Middlesex High boys' basketball Coach Tyler Babcock was not entirely pleased.

Friday night, his Big Reds wore down Wilmington, 60-43, in an inter-region affair.

"We had to battle. The guys just came out flat, in my opinion. We tried to get 'em fired up and get goin'," Babcock related. "When they play with passion and heart and get after it, that's our identity and that's the team we need. And you see, that's when we take over ballgames."

The gritty Greyhounds trailed just 33-32 with 2:34 remaining in the 3rd period on Jake Wilson' triple. But from that juncture the Big Reds rolled.

Richie Preston posted a game-high 19-point, 11-rebound double-double for Region 1 West Middlesex (5-4). He scored 12 second-half points, including 8 during the final frame.

"West Middlesex is a good team," gracious Greyhounds' Head Coach Robb Shimrack said. "Preston's a good player; he's a handful ... but when we can't be aggressive (owing to personal foul problems) Preston just ate us up."

Shimrack suited up only 7 players and 2 were DQ's on fouls, one of whom — Damien Micco — mustered a team-high 12 points and snared 7 rebounds. He exited with 6:54 remaining and Will Bruckner followed at the 2:58 mark. Three others — Tuff McConahy, Pierce Nagel and Colin Hill — ended the game with 4 fouls apiece.

It was a wire-to-wire West Middlesex win: 19-7 at the quarter; 29-25 by the break, and 46-34 through 3 periods. Nagel and McConahy mustered 6 and 5 points, respectively, during the 2nd stanza, hoisting the 'Hounds within 4 at intermission.

However the Region 4 Greyhounds (1-7) were guilty of 24 turnovers against West Middlesex's relentless defensive double-teams.

"We're young, and that leads to more turnovers than we'd like to see," Shimrack admitted after the 'Hounds handed over 24 miscues. " ... And we got a handful of guys with their fourth foul and we felt like we couldn't be as aggressive on 'D.' We had to back away a little bit, and that changed the game for us."

During the 2nd half, Babcock said, "Multiple guys stepped up. Richie stepped up ... Connor Stover had a big game (13 points, 4 rebounds) ... But, again, I think it was just that defense, that intensity and that passion turned up.

"Actually, I saw it turn on that double-technical (in the 3rd period on West Middlesex's Gio Rococi and McConahy)," Babcock continued. "To be honest, I think that's where the game turned. It was a momentum swing. A kid got up in our kid's face — you've gotta answer. But you answer in the right way, and that's by playin' hard defense and turnin' it up. It shouldn't have to take that," Babcock admitted, "but I think that's what sparked us."

Rococi recorded a dozen points, including a buzzer-beating triple to end the 3rd quarter. Also for Middlesex, Tanner Shick secured a 7-point, 7-rebound, 4-assist line, and Caden Bender boasted a team-high handful of helpers, hitting Preston on 3 consecutive series in the 4th frame.

In addition to Micco Wilmington was led by McConahy's game-high 12 rebounds (plus 7 points and 2 assists), Nagel, who notched 10 tallies; Hill, who handed the 'Hounds 4 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, and Bruckner, who bounded 6 times as Wilmington won the board battle, 37-32.

Babcock said regarding the Reds' defense, "That's what we're lookin' for every night, and that's the type of 'D' we're lookin' to play. Now, whether we can get them to answer the call each night ... They have the ability to do it — we've seen it in every game we've played this year — it's just gettin' them to do it for a complete four quarters."

Shimrack summarized, "We're definitely getting better. ... We're a work in progress, but definitely coming along.

"Something that's caught my eye is how hard we play — and we do play hard. Hopefully that'll show up and reward us in the future."

Notes: West Middlesex shot 22 for 62 from the floor (35.4%) and converted just 13 of 25 free throws (52%) while committing 14 miscues. ... Wilmington was 17 for 47 from the field (36.1%) and only 6 for 11 from the line (54.5%). ... It will be a short turnabout for West Middlesex, which meets Laurel today at 1:30 p.m. in a day-long event at Sharon High's Tiger Gymnasium.

"We're definitely makin' progress. They're gettin' better, learning what we're trying to put in," Babcock said regarding the Reds. "It's my first year, and they're trying to learn a whole, new system under what I try to do. It's growing pains for both of us. But every game, we've improved. I think our biggest thing right now is just comin' out and actually playin' with some enthusiasm and heart from the get-go, and not waiting for that moment to fire us up."

Also Friday:

BOYS BASKETBALL

— Kennedy Catholic 82, Jamestown 54 — At Hermitage, Malik Lampkins-Rudolph poured in 27 points to lead the Golden Eagles (4-0, 4-2) past the Muskies (1-4, 2-6) in the Region 1 contest.

KC jumped out to a 19-8 lead after 8 minutes of play and were up 36-20 at halftime. The Golden Eagles poured it on in the 3rd quarter by outscoring Jamestown 28-14.

Elijah Harden fired in 22 points for KC and Gio Magestro added 17.

Peyton McElhinny led the way for the Muskies with 23 points and Cameron Keyser scored 19.

— Mercer 54, Commodore Perry 14 — At Mercer, Coach Joe Venasco's Mustangs improved to 3-0 in Region 1 and 7-2 overall with a win over the Panthers (0-4, 1-7).

Woody Nickel and Jake Mattocks led Mercer with a dozen points each and Daemyn Mattocks contributed 9 markers.

Kyle Stringert scored 9 points for Commodore Perry.

— Farrell 59, Lakeview 45 — At Stoneboro, Coach Myron Lowe's Steelers moved to 4-1 in Region 1 and 5-4 overall with the win over the Sailors (1-3, 2-6).

Farrell held a slim 39-36 lead after 3 quarters of play and outscored Lakeview 20-9 in the 4th quarter.

Lamont Samuels rifled in 20 points for Farrell, Omar Stewart Jr. scored 15, and Malachi Owens contributed 12 points.

Lane Smith had 20 points for Lakeview and Cameron Pence bucketed 15.

— Friday's Rocky Grove at Reynolds Region 1 game was postponed.

— Hickory 54, Greenville 48 — At "The Hive" in Hermitage, the Hornets trailed 18-12 at the end of the opening quarter, but rallied to pick up the Region 4 win.

The Hornets outscored the Trojans 12-6 in the 2nd quarter to force a 24-all tie at halftime. Hickory then outscored Greenville 14-10 in the 3rd frame and 16-14 in the final quarter.

Jackson Pryts rifled in 20 points to lead the way for Hickory (3-1, 5-2), Aidan Enoch bucketed 14, and Joey Fazzone contributed 7 points.

Prtys had 7 rebounds and dished out 3 assists, Fazzone grabbed 7 boards, and Enoch dished out 5 assists and had 4 steals and 3 rebounds.

Jalen Ritzert led Greenville (2-2, 5-4) with 19 points, Noah Philson scored 11, and Nate Stuyvesant drained a trio of treys for 9.

— Franklin 60, Grove City 30 — At The Castle in Venango County, Franklin forged the Region 4 win in convincing fashion.

The Knights notched leads of 16-6, 31-15 and 48-22 at the conclusion of each respective quarter.

For Franklin (4-0, 9-1), Luke Guth garnered a game-high 16 points, while Easton Fulmer and Cole Buckley combined to match that figure; Damon Curry collected 10 tallies and Jalen Wood went for 8. The Knights knocked down 13 of 16 free-throw attempts.

Grove City (3-1, 5-4) was led by Gavin Lutz's 8 points. The 'Grovers got to the line just 8 times.

— Slippery Rock 66, Sharpsville 55 — At Sharpsville, the Blue Devils led 12-6 at the end of the opening quarter, but the Rockets outscored the host squad 23-11 in the 2nd quarter en route to the Region 4 win.

Slippery Rock led 29-23 at halftime and outscored Sharpsville 37-32 in the 2nd half.

Dylan Gordon (20 points), John Sabo (19), Elam Pyle (12), and Jacob Wolak (9) were the leading point-getters for Slippery Rock (2-1, 4-4).

For Sharpsville (0-3, 0-6), James Thomas bucketed 20 points, Brock Lenzi scored 13, and Mack Staunch 11.

— Brookfield 64, Champion — At Champion, the visiting Warriors were without a trio of starters, but prevailed in the Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference Gray Tier contest.

Brookfield built a 29-15 halftime bulge, then had to withstand the Golden Flashes' furious 27-point 3rd-period output. Tied at 42 entering the final frame, the Warriors outscored Champion, 22-17.

For Coach Shawn Hammond, Josh Solida secured a career night by snaring 19 rebounds and scoring a game-high 20 points. Also for Brookfield (2-3, 4-5), Carter Creed collected a career-best 15 points, including 7-for-10 free-throw marksmanship. TJ Laverty lent 10 tallies — 8 during the decisive final frame — and Nevon Hoffman hit for another 10 points in another varsity highlight; Creed also dished out 4 dimes and Hoffman was credited with 5 steals.

Brookfield benefitted from 45 free-throw attempts (14 for 24 during the final frame), though sinking just 24. However Champion chucked in only 6 of 21 attempts from the sin stripe.

Mason McKinney mustered 11 markers for Champion (0-4, 3-5), a figure matched by Carter Paul, who produced a trio of treys. The Golden Flashes finished with 7 triples.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

— Wilmington 34, Meadville 27 — At New Wilmington, the host Lady 'Hounds harvested the inter-region win by building a 19-10 bulge by the break, then withstanding Meadville's 2nd-half rally.

Frosh sensation Lia Krarup connected for a game-high 15 points, tossing in a trio of treys, and was credited with 6 steals. Also for Region 4 Wilmington (7-3), Mailee Whiting went for 8 rebounds and 6 points, AnnaLea Gardner gave out 4 assists, and Jadyn Flick finished with 6 rebounds.

Region 5 Meadville (1-9) was led in scoring by Burchard and Templin, who tallied 9 and 8 points, respectively.

— Portersville Christian School 51, Jamestown 35 — At Portersville, the Lady Muskies fell to 0-10 with the loss on Friday night.

Isabel Green fired in 19 points for PCS and Audrey Shandick scored 10.

Jillian McElhinny had a season-high 14 points for Jamestown, Stacie Weimert bucketed 12, and Annie Weimert chipped in 5 points.

WRESTLING

— Today's Reynolds Border Wars Tournament has been postponed due to COVID issues at Reynolds.

PIAA NOTE

The PIAA has posted the 2022-23 and 2023-24 voluntary upgrades on its website. The only local team on the list is the Farrell High girls basketball team, who is moving from Class 1A to 2A.

To see the complete list, visit piaa.org.

BOYS BASKETBALL

WILMINGTON 7 18 9 9 43

W.MIDDLESEX 19 10 17 14 60

WILMINGTON — Micco 4-3-5-12, McConahy 3-1-1-7, Bruckner 2-0-2-4, Nagel 5-0-1-10, Hill 1-2-4-4, Kline 1-0-0-3, Wilson 1-0-0-3. 3-pt. goals: Micco 1, Wilson 1, Kline 1. Totals: 17-6-11-43.

WEST MIDDLESEX — Rococi 4-3-7-12, Stover 5-3-5-13, Preston 7-5-11-19, Shick 2-2-2-7, Bender 2-0-0-4, Nehlen 1-0-0-3, Knight 1-0-0-2, Shrawder 0-0-0-0, Partridge 0-0-0-0, Sweitzer 0-0-0-0, Hurley 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Shick 1, Rococi 1, Nehlen 1. Totals: 22-13-25-60.

JV: No game.

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JAMESTOWN 8 12 14 20 54

KENNEDY 19 17 28 18 82

JAMESTOWN — Swezey 1-2-3-5, McElhinny 11-0-0-23, Hill 1-0-0-2, Popielarcheck 0-4-4-4, Keyser 8-3-5-19, Ford 0-0-0-0, Ternent 0-1-2-1. 3-pt. goals: Swezey 1, McElhinny 1. Totals: 21-10-14-54.

KENNEDY CATHOLIC — Wade 2-0-0-4, Harden 10-0-0-22, Magestro 7-0-0-17, Lampkins-Rudolph 11-2-4-27, Hart 3-1-2-7, Wilbon-Venable 1-0-0-3, Gwin 1-0-0-2, Southworth 0-0-0-0, Ondo 0-0-0-0, Campbell 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Magestro 3, Lampkins-Rudolph 3, Harden 2, Wilbon-Venable 1. Totals: 35-3-6-82.

JV: KC, 62-27. Rayvion Wilbon-Venable 29, Dom Rapp 11, Maxwell Southworth 10.

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COMM. PERRY 5 1 2 6 14

MERCER 12 9 18 15 54

COMMODORE PERRY — Waid 1-0-0-2, Bell 0-0-2-0, Saxe 1-1-2-3, Dw.Yeagley 0-0-0-0, Stringert 4-0-0-9, Turlij 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goal: Stringert 1. Totals: 6-1-4-14.

MERCER — Haines 1-0-2-3, Balaski 1-0-0-3, B.Palmer 2-0-0-5, Pugh 1-3-6-5, Nickel 5-0-1-12, J.Mattocks 5-2-4-12, Lawrence 0-0-0-0, Cunningham 1-0-0-3, D.Mattocks 2-5-5-9, Ch.Grossman 0-0-0-0, D.Palmer 1-0-0-2. 3-pt. goals: Nickel 2, Haines 1, Balaski 1, B.Palmer 1, Cunningham 1. Totals: 19-10-18-54.

JV: No score reported.

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FARRELL 11 14 14 20 59

LAKEVIEW 12 9 15 9 45

FARRELL — Mathews 0-0-0-0, Owens 3-6-7-12, Samuels 5-8-13-20, Jackson 0-0-0-0, Wilson 1-0-0-2, Stewart 7-1-3-15, O'Kane 0-2-2-2, Smith 1-0-1-2, Scarborough 2-0-0-6. 3-pt. goals: Samuels 2, Scarborough 2. Totals: 19-17-26-59.

LAKEVIEW — Miller 1-2-3-4, Grantham 0-1-2-1, Smith 8-3-6-20, Pence 5-4-6-15, Reiser 1-0-0-3, Fagley 0-2-2-2, Wilkins 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Smith 1, Pence 1, Reiser 1. Totals: 15-12-19-45.

JV: No game.

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GREENVILLE 18 6 10 14 48

HICKORY 12 12 14 16 54

GREENVILLE — Herrick 2-0-0-4, Stuyvesant 3-0-0-9, Ritzert 8-1-2-19, Philson 5-0-0-11, Lentz 1-3-5-5. 3-pt. goals: Stuyvesant 3, Ritzert 2, Philson 1. Totals: 19-4-7-48.

HICKORY — Enoch 5-2-5-14, C.Evangelista 0-0-0-0, Mele 1-2-2-4, Swanson 2-0-1-4, Fazzone 3-1-2-7, Djakovich 2-0-0-5, Daniels 0-0-0-0, Pryts 9-2-8-20. 3-pt. goals: Enoch 2, Djakovich 1. Totals: 22-7-18-54.

JV: Hickory, 50-25. Landon Bean 9 for Hickory.

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GROVE CITY 6 9 7 8 30

FRANKLIN 16 15 17 12 60

GROVE CITY — Hathaway 1-4-4-7, Stull 2-1-2-5, Greer 0-0-0-0, Loughry 2-0-0-4, Haggart 2-0-0-4, Dreves 0-0-0-0, Lutz 4-0-0-8, Martin 1-0-2-2. 3-pt. goal: Stull 1. Totals: 12-5-8-30.

FRANKLIN — Curry 3-4-4-10, Wood 3-0-0-8, Owens 0-0-0-0, Buckley 4-0-0-8, Fulmer 2-3-4-8, Guth 6-3-4-16, Leccia 0-2-2-2, McCracken 0-2-2-2, Walters 3-0-0-6. 3-pt. goals: Wood 2, Fulmer 1, Guth 1. Totals: 21-14-16-60.

JV: Franklin, 44-33. Ethan Owens 13, Dreyden Payne 12, Zach Boland 10. Brett Loughry 14 for Grove City.

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SLIPPERY ROCK 6 23 21 16 66

SHARPSVILLE 12 11 19 13 55

SLIPPERY ROCK — Gordon 7-2-2-20, Sabo 8-2-6-19, Pyle 4-0-0-12, Wolak 4-1-4-9, Thompson 1-1-2-3, Vogan 1-0-0-2, B.Prementine 0-1-3-1, Schwartz 0-0-0-0, Parson 0-0-0-0, Allen 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Pyle 4, Gordon 4, Sabo 1. Totals: 25-7-17-66.

SHARPSVILLE — Thomas 10-0-0-20, M.Staunch 5-1-6-11, Distler 2-0-0-5, Tedrow 1-1-1-3, Lenzi 4-4-4-13, Campbell 0-2-2-2, Trontel 0-1-2-1, O'Neill 0-0-0-0, L.Staunch 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Distler 1, Lenzi 1. Totals: 22-9-15-55.

JV: No score reported.

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BROOKFIELD 10 19 13 22 64

CHAMPION 6 9 27 17 59

BROOKFIELD — Montgomery 0-2-4-2, Craig 0-0-0-0, Witherow 0-2-2-2, Laverty 3-4-6-10, Reardon 1-2-4-5, Hoffman 3-4-6-10, Solida 8-3-13-20, Creed 4-7-10-15. 3-pt. goals: Reardon 1, Solida 1. Totals: 19-24-45-64.

CHAMPION — Channell 2-1-2-6, McKinney 4-2-3-11, Fell 7-2-5-17, Paul 4-0-2-11, Vesey 1-0-2-2, Andreatin 0-1-3-1, Orwig 3-0-0-7, Haines 0-0-3-0, Skebe 1-0-2-2, Nolan 1-0-1-2. 3-pt. goals: Paul 3, Channell 1, McKinney 1, Fell 1, Orwig 1. Totals: 23-6-21-59.

JV: No score reported.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

MEADVILLE 6 6 7 8 27

WILMINGTON 9 10 5 10 34

MEADVILLE — Burchard 4-1-2-9, Phillips 0-1-2-1 Chambers 2-0-0-4, Burnett 1-1-2-3, Templin 2-3-7-8, McCoy 1-0-0-2, Ashton 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goal: Templin 1. Totals: 10-6-13-27.

WILMINGTON — Krarup 5-2-2-15, Phanco 0-3-6-3, Flick 0-3-6-3, Gardner 0-1-2-1, Whiting 2-2-4-6, Arblaster 0-0-0-0, Deal 1-1-4-3, Brewer 1-1-2-3, Klamut 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Krarup 3. Totals: 9-13-26-34.

JV: No game.

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JAMESTOWN 9 7 6 13 35

PORTERSVILLE 12 13 8 18 51

JAMESTOWN — S.Weimert 6-0-0-12, McElhinny 5-1-2-14, Varano 2-0-0-4, Keener 0-0-0-0, A.Weimert 2-1-1-5. 3-pt. goals: McElhinny 3. Totals: 15-2-3-35.

PORTERSVILLE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL — Shandick 4-0-0-10, Brewer 0-0-0-0, Ambrose 2-0-0-4, Green 8-2-4-19, Steele 2-0-0-4, Van Gent 3-1-2-7, Rhoden 1-3-3-5, Sastek 1-0-0-2. 3-pt. goals: Shandick 2, Green 1. Totals: 21-6-9-51.

JV: No game.

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