Gutsy Greensburg Salem rallies to beat Franklin Regional

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Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 7:42 PM


Knocked around but never rattled, Greensburg Salem rallied from a scratchy start and evened its record after the first weekend of the boys basketball season.

All it took was for Franklin Regional to back it into a corner.

“We took two separate roundhouses — two 10-0 runs — but kept bouncing back,” Golden Lions coach Mark Zahorchak said. “This team is mentally tough and gets after it defensively.”

Dante Parsons scored 19 points, Ryan Thomas had 10 of his 17 in the second half and Cade Cavanaugh chipped in 10 as the Golden Lions worked their way around Franklin Regional, 54-51, in the 15th Hempfield Spartan Tip-off Tournament on Saturday.

Franklin Regional (1-1), which rolled up 82 points in a season-opening win over McKeesport, started with an 11-0 run against Greensburg Salem (1-1).

But the Golden Lions, sparked by three 3-pointers from Parsons, cut it to 13-11 after the first quarter and hung around before moving ahead in the third and finally seizing command late.

“I had a bad game (Friday), so I knew I had to get in a groove,” Parsons said. “We knew Franklin Regional was a good team. We haven’t beaten them in my four years, so this is a great accomplishment.”

After pulling even at 20-20, the Golden Lions allowed a 10-0 spurt.

Still, they were within one at the half (30-29).

In the third, Thomas scored seven and Cavanaugh had five to highlight a 12-2 run that put Greensburg Salem ahead, 41-34.

“We came out and sped them up,” Thomas said. “We knew we could get them to turn it over. This was a game of blows.”

Playing with a short bench after Shamar McCoy left with a lower back injury, the Golden Lions continued to grind away.

“We seem to keep finding that clutch play,” Zahorchak said. “We were playing with five guys.”

Franklin Regional tied it to open the fourth and regained the lead (49-47) on a jumper from Logan Summerhill, who had 17 points, including a pair of breakaway dunks. He scored 30 on Friday.

A 6-0 spurt by the Golden Lions — a layup by Thomas and a bank-shot and two free throws from Parsons — put them ahead to stay.

“Dante got us going,” Zahorchak said. “Cade Cavanaugh gave us some scoring. Jalen Page allows us to really pick it up defensively. And Jeff (Mankins) is like another coach out there.”

Both teams had just three field goals in an underwhelming fourth.

“We took some bad shots (in the second half) and had some bad possessions,” Franklin Regional coach Steve Scorpion said. “That’s on me. That’s my fault. We didn’t execute like we should. We had a one-point lead with two-and-a-half minutes left and had six straight terrible possessions.”

Luke Kimmich scored 18, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Panthers, and Johnny O’Toole had 10.

“They did a good job of taking away our post game,” Scorpion said. “Thomas was physical and we weren’t physical back.”

Zahorchak saw the win as a nice benchmark for his program.

“I can’t explain how proud I am of our guys,” Zahorchak said. “That is a WPIAL finals coach, and they have had our number for years.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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