PENNSYLVANIA George Junior Republic outlasts Sharon, 79-69
The Eagles outscored Sharon 18-8 in the final period to record the victory.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
SHARON, Pa. -- The only thing certain about the boys basketball meeting between George Junior Republic and Sharon on Friday night was the Tigers were going to win.
During the frantic 32 minutes, the teams split the four quarters as Sharon had the upper hand in the first and third periods before George Junior owned the second and fourth periods.
However, when you put the four periods together, it simply adds up to a 79-69 George Junior win over Sharon.
Sharon (8-8) had the edge in the first eight minutes as it took a 23-14 lead by knocking down six of its game total of 18 3-pointers.
"We told the guys who were out there on the floor that they like to shoot the 3 and they can shoot it," said George Junior coach Bob McConnell. "We wanted to make them dribble the basketball and we didn't do it."
Pressure defense: However, facing the huge deficit, George Junior (11-3) picked up the tempo on the defensive end. With the pressure, the Tigers put together scoring runs of 11 and seven points twice for a 28-8 margin to take a 42-31 lead at the break.
"We put a couple of reserves who wanted to play hard and we started trapping them," said McConnell about the easy steals leading to easy buckets on the other end. "I don't know what it is going to take for our guys to understand that we need all five of them out there busting their butts for us to win."
Sharon coach Jim Hoy had a different viewpoint of the George Junior second period flourish.
"I don't think distribution is the right word to describe it," said Hoy about the George Junior turnaround. "They got some steals and turned them into cherry-picking lay-ups. I don't think it was their offensive attack that hurt us. We turned the ball over and they were able to get some easy lay-ups."
George Junior had a trio of double-digit scorers, led by Tyrea Denmark's 21. Denmark was followed by Chris Fiore with 18 and John Brown with 11.
Despite coming out on the short end of the final tally, Sharon also boasted three players in doubles -- O'Brien Bridges with a game-high 22, Duston Golub with 20 and Corey Cheza with 12.
Tigers battle: Trailing by the 11 points at the intermission, Sharon did anything but roll over as it fought back to put 30 points on the board for a 30-19 bulge to deadlock the score at 61-all entering the fourth.
"You have to remember that we probably have one-fourth of the talent they do," said Hoy. "I am not sure that we have one player who could start for them. But our kids have an immeasurable amount of heart as well as confidence in their teammates and in the coaching staff."
Not to let the game get away from it, George Junior became more disciplined during the final eight minutes and as a result outscored Sharon by an 18-8 margin for the win.