MERCER COUNTY Sharon's comeback nets league crown
The Tigers overcame Slippery Rock for their 15th win and the MCAC title.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
SHARON -- Despite trailing for almost the entire game, the Sharon High basketball team rallied for a 42-34 victory Friday over Slippery Rock.
For the first 30 minutes of the game, Sharon never held the lead, and with 4:30 left, Slippery Rock still maintained a six-point lead.
But that is when the Tigers went on the prowl to control both ends of the floor.
Led by Ibrahim Konate' and Dustin Golub with seven and six points in the stretch, Sharon scored the final 14 points in the contest.
With the win, Sharon (15-6, 5-0) wrapped up the Mercer County Athletic Conference AAA championship with a 5-0 mark and just one game remaining.
"We are MCAC champions for the first time in how many years by ourselves," coach Jimmy Hoy said.
Regarding the Tigers' comeback strategy, "We never lost sight of what we had to do," Hoy said. "We reminded them at halftime that we didn't have to win this in the third quarter. We are going to win it in the fourth quarter.
"We weren't down by 25 points and we stressed to them that we didn't have to get [the deficit] all back at one time," Hoy said.
Depth on his bench was also a factor, Hoy said.
"I just felt that down the stretch, we would have more gas," Hoy said. "Our subs gave us some real quality minutes tonight. I just can't say enough about Ryan Sarazan, Matt Gill, Johnny Heutsche, Justin Gartner and Mark Boatwright."
The Rockets scored the first 10 points of the game, and it wasn't until more than a minute into the second period that the Tigers scored a bucket.
"We missed our first 18 shots of the game and sometimes you are just bad," said Hoy about the slow start. "I wasn't too concerned about it."
Although Slippery Rock let things get away down the stretch, coach Chris Burtch found positives.
"We took a couple of bad shots and then we couldn't make our free throws," Burtch said. "We just lost to a terrific team tonight."
While the Rockets were busy building their lead in the first period, they also were playing tough defense as the Tigers could only muster two points in the eight minutes.
"We have been playing pretty good defense," Burtch said. "We just have to keep that going because when you play defense like we did tonight, you are going to be in the basketball game against anybody."
With their backs to the wall as far as finishing in the top two of the league and qualifying for the district playoffs, Burtch is hoping that the overall record (15-5) will be good enough to earn them a spot as an at-large entry.