Hot shooting propels No. 2 Pine-Richland past Seneca Valley in Section 1-6A

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | 10:48 PM

From the tip-off of their Section 1-6A matchup against Seneca Valley, the Pine-Richland boys basketball team was anything but gun shy from 3-point range, and utilized the long-distance shot to great effect en route to a 86-57 win.

The No. 2-ranked Rams began their contest against the Raiders (7-7, 2-4) by sinking each of their first five attempts from behind the arc, and went on to hit 12 of 21 shots from 3-point land.

Senior point guard Greg Shulkosky served as the catalyst for the Rams (13-2, 6-0), with 20 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals in the team’s 12 straight win.

“Greg is the straw that stirs the drink. He gets us going. He’s just lightning quick out there and really pushes the attack,” Pine-Richland coach Jeff Ackermann said.

“There was a point in the third quarter where he got a steal and fed Dan (Petcash) for an easy layup. Next play, Dan did the same and got it to Greg for a layup. That’s what we’re about, we’re about trying to share the ball as much as possible. We want to get as many guys scoring as we can, and Greg helps set the table for that.”

Junior Kyle Polce poured in 21 points and senior Dan Petcash racked up 19 points. Polce and Petcash each made three 3-pointers, and were among six Pine-Richland players that made a shot from long range.

While the hot-shooting Rams appear to be firing on all cylinders at the mid-way point of their Section 1-6A schedule, Ackermann said he is not concerned about his team peaking too soon. In fact, he still sees room for improvement, as they continue to answer the challenge he offered them almost six weeks ago.

“We don’t defend nearly well enough, and we can rebound a lot better then we do right now. I challenged the guys after the Upper St. Clair game, I told them that I want them to win out. My challenge was for them to win out,” Ackermann said.

“Ever since that game, we added some new offensive sets and tweaked the lineup. I think as the team grows, I look at it like a jigsaw puzzle. We have to figure out what pieces go where and how they fit together. I think I’m figuring them out more and understanding them a lot better now.”

Marcus Might scored 12 points for Seneca Valley. Mason Bush, who entered the contest averaging 20.1 points, scored five points in the losing effort.

During large stretches of the game, the Raiders battled the Rams in an even manner. Ultimately, it was the hot offensive stretches from their opponent buried Seneca Valley.

“The funny thing is, the first time we played them, it was the same way. We played them pretty evenly in two of the quarters, but the other two they went on a run and hurt us,” Seneca Valley coach Kevin Trost said.

“I think we feel good about the parts where we played well, and take positives from that. But overall, we just need to be better.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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