Armstrong boys snap 4-game skid with Section 3-5A win over Kiski Area

By: HSSN Staff
Friday, December 21, 2018 | 10:54 PM

In a game that featured two neighboring schools looking for some traction, Armstrong used a strong second quarter to defeat Kiski Area, 55-51.

The Section 3-5A boys basketball victory halted a four-game losing streak for the River Hawks, but Armstrong had to hold off a late rally by the Cavaliers.

Junior Isaiah Price led all scorers with 24 points as the River Hawks took control of the game with a 9-0 surge early in the second quarter.

Armstrong is now 2-4, 1-2 while Kiski Area slipped to 2-6, 1-2.

“We were able to get behind their defense a little bit, and the more we learn to do that, the better team we’re going to be,” first-year River Hawks coach Ralph McGinnis said. “This was a good game for us; we needed to get back on the winning track.”

Armstrong outscored the Cavaliers, 23-12, in the second quarter as junior Gavin Szymanski tallied six points in the quarter.

“I honestly believe they took momentum in the second quarter,” Kiski Area coach Will Saunders said. “The Price brothers did a good job of getting into their stuff. Our game plan was to make sure those guys didn’t get free, but they did a great job of spacing the floor and giving them room to operate.”

Senior Jalen Price scored five of his nine points in the second quarter.

One of the keys to the game was the defensive effort put on Cavaliers freshman Kyrell Hutcherson by Cole Brown and Wyatt Pampeno. Hutcherson, who has been averaging in double figures, finally shook loose and scored seven of his 13 points to help propel Kiski Area’s late rally.

“They alternate with each other at each other’s position,” McGinnis said of Brown and Pampeno. “We’re comfortable with both of them. Brown is a sophomore, and he got his first starts and had a great week. Wyatt, he’s so fast on defense. I’m proud of both of those boys.”

Armstrong took several 11-point leads, including a 41-30 advantage at the end of three quarters.

Nick Smith stepped behind the arc twice in the fourth quarter to nail crucial 3-pointers. The second brought the Cavaliers to within 50-47 with 46.4 seconds left.

“We needed those,” Saunders said. “We’re a better shooting team than we were in the first half. We went into halftime thinking we’re OK, because we missed a lot of layups and we got a lot of clean looks, but the shots didn’t fall.”

Smith led the Cavaliers with 16 points and five rebounds.

Jalen Price had nine rebounds and Isaiah eight as the River Hawks held Kiski Area to one offensive shot on four of five possessions during one stretch of the fourth quarter.

“We were in the right position when they missed their shots,” McGinnis said. “We knew they had to foul. I wish we did a little better at the free throw line, but we made the ones that counted.”

Armstrong was 10 of 18 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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