Tyrone battles to end

WEXFORD — Tyrone’s girls basketball team knew it faced a tough challenge against Neshannock.

It got more difficult when the Lady Lancers used their rebounding prowess to manufacture extra chances in the second half. Neshannock, the WPIAL champ, held off Tyrone’s late surge for a 42-38 victory in a PIAA Class 3A first round battle at North Allegheny.

“Their half-court defense is top-notch, but their rebounding in the second half was the difference in the game,” Tyrone coach Luke Rhoades said.

The Lady Eagles (18-8) were able to limit Neshannock (24-2) in the first half. The Lady Lancers had a 7-6 lead after the first and carried an 18-14 edge into intermission.

Tyrone cut its deficit to 22-19 when Jaida Parker swished a 3-pointer and added a putback on consecutive possessions with 3:24 left in the third. However, Neshannock closed the frame with a 7-2 run to grab a 29-21 edge.

“We just couldn’t get over the hump. That seems to be our deal the last couple of years,” Rhoades said. “We are right there with teams and right there with the best teams on our schedule, but we just can’t get over that hump.

“We wanted to get in there and compete and we thought we did a good job defensively in the first half. Really, we did a good job defensively in the second half, too, but we just didn’t rebound the ball. Rebounds and second shots really killed us. That’s the bottom line — they were tough inside. I bet we gave up 12 points in the second half on second shots. That really hurt our chances.”

The Lady Lancers pushed their lead as high as 12 points, 42-30, with 1:59 left in the contest. However, the Lady Eagles made a brisk 8-0 run at the end, but couldn’t catch Neshannock.

“They didn’t go away. That’s a very good team,” Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski said. “They had two good freshmen out there. They have a nice team and I knew it from watching them on film. I knew it was going to be a dogfight and it was.”

Tyrone limited Lady Lancers forward Bella Burrelli to two points in the first half. However, she scored eight in the second half, many off second chances.

“She is definitely a top player and real tough inside,” Rhoades said. “When we lose her, she is real active. It goes back to rebounding and second shots and she hurt us on those.

Freshman guard Neleh Nogay led Neshannock with 14 points. Freshman Stephanie Ramsey had a team-high 12 points for Tyrone, while Parker, also a freshman, finished with eight. Junior Lindsay Fusco had seven for the Lady Eagles, who graduate seniors Reilly Ronan and Sydney Shaw.

“We have a lot of work to do. District 6 basketball is tough and girls basketball is some of the best in the state,” Rhoades said. “We’ll see how the offseason goes. We can’t sit around and sob about this too long because other teams are already out working and getting better.”

TYRONE (38): Ramsey 3 5-5 12, Parker 3 0-0 8, Fusco 3 1-4 7, Ronan 1 0-0 2, Sy. Shaw 2 0-0 5, Sh. Shaw 1 0-0 2, Getz 0 2-2 2, Welsh 0 0-0 0. Totals — 13 8-11 38.

NESHANNOCK (42): Nogay 5 2-3 14, George 3 3-4 9, Burrelli 3 4-5 10, DeLillo 0 0-0 0, Dean 1 0-0 3, Fehrs 2 0-0 4, DeMatteo 1 0-0 2. Totals — 15 9-12 42.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Tyrone 6 8 7 17 — 38

Neshannock 7 11 11 13 — 42

3-point goals: Tyrone 4 (Parker 2, Ramsey, Sy. Shaw); Neshannock 3 (Nogay 2, Dean).

Records: Tyrone (18-8); Neshannock (24-2).

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