Missed opportunities haunt both sides
A little over three quarters of basketball on Friday and it had to be the kind of defense Pymatuning Valley Coach Ryan Shontz had been wanting to see from his team most of the still-early season. On the other side of the coin, Edgewood Coach John Bowler was seeing young players step up and carry the load as his team’s primary scoring threats were neutralized. Both of those would change in the fourth quarter as the Warriors (5-1, 3-1) walked off with the 68-60 victory.
“I said in the beginning of the year, that anybody can beat anybody on any given night. This was a given night for us – luckily. But, if we had to play again? It might be their turn to win. (Pymatuning Valley) is a really good team and Ryan (Shontz) does a good job with the kids. He is a really good coach. They are always prepared and they are always ready.”Edgewood Coach John Bowler, on matching up with PV
Running nose-to-nose the score sat at 52-50 (Edgewood) with just over six minutes remaining in the game. To that point, sophomore Mason Thorr had scored 10 of his 14 points in the paint to keep the Warriors offense afire as seniors Jacob Ernst and Logan Kray were held at bay. The Achilles heel? They shot only 6-of-21 at the free throw line as a team.
That’s when Ernst took over, after Bowler and his coaching staff saw an opportunity.
“We put Jacob out front a little bit more instead of on the wing. We kept telling him that if he penetrates and he passes, he’ll get the ball back again. Jacob is probably one of the best finishers in the county. When he’s going to the hoop and at the rim, he is finishes phenomenally – one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen.”Bowler, on his 6′-4″ guard’s ability
In the fourth quarter alone, Ernst persistent give-and-go attacks resulted 16 of his game-high 34 points. Kray would finish with 15 spread out over the course of the game, while providing key assists as the Warriors fought to keep pace ahead of PV. A lead that would briefly see double-digits.
The Lakers (5-3, 3-3) held a 35-32 advantage going into halftime, as senior point guard Zane Neczeporenko dropped 15 of his team-high 23 points. Seth Bryan, Cade Wiser and Drake Haines all draining key three-pointers to seemingly chip away at the host Warriors.
The Lakers found success inside and outside in the second half from 6-5 senior Blake Krznaric. He racked up 14 of his 18 points in the final two frames, including a pair of three’s in the fourth quarter to keep the proverbial light on in the window.
UP NEXT: Edgewood heads to Niles to take on McKinley (2-5), Friday, Dec. 29th at 5:30 pm. That same night, PV makes its way to Cardinal to take on the 1-5 Huskies, 6:45 pm.
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