The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

February 22, 2013

Hilltoppers too much for Cats

JOHNSTOWN — Pitt-Johnstown did everything it could to slow down high-powered West Liberty.

The Mountain Cats played aggressive man defense. When that didn’t work, they sunk into a 2-3 zone – something the Mountain Cats rarely do.

Like any defense thrown at the Hilltoppers the past several seasons, nothing Pitt-Johnstown did worked effectively against Division II’s third-ranked team as West Liberty wore down the hosts for a 98-83 victory Thursday night at the Sports Center.

“You try to control the tempo, but it’s tough,” said Pitt-Johnstown coach Bob Rukavina. “We have guys who can score. We’re a good offensive team, but the difference is they made 17 3-pointers out of

35 attempts. You can’t do that running through warm-ups.”

West Liberty (26-1), which raised its West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic conference-leading record to 20-1, certainly can.

The Hilltoppers continually looked for the long-range shot from every position on the court.

Big men Chris Morrow (18 points) and Seger Bonifant (11 points) combined to make nine 3-pointers, and when the Hilltoppers weren’t making shots from every possible angle and distance, they dissected the game Pitt-Johnstown defense for looks inside. That’s where senior Alex Falk, part of a class that won its 120th game on Thursday, did much of his work on way to a game-high 32 points.

“We see teams that have a very hard time getting out to our shooters,” West Liberty coach Jim Crutchfield said. “If they do, we look to drive lanes and we tend to get layups.”

Pitt-Johnstown (14-11, 10-11) hung with West Liberty into the second half behind strong play from senior guards Nick Novak and Jordan Miller and some help from

6-9 center Ian Vescovi (17 points).

“No matter how much you try, if you don’t play that way every day, they start to bother you,” Miller said. “That’s a very good offensive team.”

Novak finished with 27 points on 11 of

20 shooting and Miller scored 14 points, but the Mountain Cats were outscored 21-9 during a key second-half stretch after pulling within 68-65 on a Novak layup.

“We stuck with them for a half while all our energy was going,” Novak said. “In the second half, we started getting tired and they don’t make mistakes and they’re always ready to take advantage of your mistakes.”

The Pitt-Johnstown women hung with West Liberty for more than a half. In fact, the Lady Cats controlled most of the game before a late second-half spurt by the Hilltoppers forced overtime and led to a 98-90 West Liberty victory.

Hillary Southworth, the second-leading scorer in Division II, finished with 43 points for the Hilltoppers (18-7, 16-5), who trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half and 74-61 late in the second half.

“I preach to them to play hard for 40 minutes. They played hard, but some things cost us at the end,” Pitt-Johnstown coach Sasha Palmer said.

Kaitlynn Fratz and Nicole Carman scored 24 points apiece for UPJ.

To read stories in their entirety, visit one of these links:

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Pirates cut down by Reds’ Cueto

    April 23, 2014

  • Penguins 0422 Blown leads are troubling trend in series

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sunnehanna makes changes to tourney week

    April 22, 2014

  • Penguins 0421 Penguins finish hot to grab 2-1 series lead

    Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen scored in a span of 2:13 of the third period to revive the Penguins from yet another two-goal deficit in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0421 Pirates walk off against Reds to halt home skid

    Ike Davis became the first player to hit grand slams for different teams in the same April, and Neil Walker had a winning run single with two outs in the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates twice overcame deficits to beat the Reds 6-5 Monday night.
    Pittsburgh trailed 2-0 before Davis’ fourth-inning homer off Mike Leake.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sitting Bulls bring home national sled hockey title

    The Johnstown Sitting Bulls disabled sled hockey team recently won a national championship.
    The team, comprised of disabled athletes from Cambria, Somerset, Indiana, Bedford and Blair counties, finished first in the Youth B Division at the USA Hockey National Disabled Hockey Festival held April 11-13 in Marlborough, Mass.

    April 21, 2014

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 21, 2014

  • APTOPIX Boston Marathon.jpg Marathon men’s winner has names of victims on bib

    The winner of the Boston Marathon men’s race had the names of last year’s victims written in marker on the corners of his race bib.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Football team ends boycott of embattled coach

    Minnesota State University-Mankato’s football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
    Hoffner said he assured the players, who refused to take the practice field Wednesday, that interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team in Hoffner’s absence, will continue in a major role with the team.

    April 20, 2014