LA Pratt’s game-winner lifts Lincoln Park to 2-point win over Montour

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Friday, January 14, 2022 | 10:49 PM


Lincoln Park saw a 15-point lead vanish Friday night, but that was all forgotten once senior LA Pratt made a clutch runner with five seconds left to lift the Leopards to a 51-49 victory over Montour in a battle of ranked teams.

The Duquesne recruit was having a quiet night in his home gym until then.

Pratt hadn’t attempted many shots and had only six points, before taking an inbounds pass on his team’s last possession and driving to the hoop for the off-balance winner.

“I was having a rough game all around, but I just knew I had to battle adversity and get over it,” Pratt said. “As a senior leader, I knew it was going to come down to the last shot.”

The ball bounced briefly on the back of the rim and fell through.

“It was good defense,” Montour coach Bill Minear said, “but that’s a Division I player making a shot.”

The win keeps third-ranked Lincoln Park (7-2, 4-1) squarely in the hunt for the Section 2-4A title, which is proving to be one of the WPIAL’s toughest. No. 5 Montour (8-3, 4-2) slips to third.

They’ll rematch Feb. 8 at Montour.

No. 1 Quaker Valley (9-0, 6-0) holds first place in the section.

Montour had rallied back to lead 49-47 with less than two minutes left but Lincoln Park scored the final two baskets. Leopards freshman Meleek Thomas made a game-tying runner with about 90 second left.

“We’ve got to execute a little bit better,” Minear said. “We’re definitely going to see them one more time. We may see them and Quaker Valley twice more.”

After Pratt’s go-ahead runner, Montour called timeout with five seconds left, but the Spartans couldn’t get off a shot before time expired.

Lincoln Park’s Brandin Cummings scored a game-high 27 points, including 24 in the first half. The sophomore guard started hot and went 9 for 12 shooting with four 3-pointers as the Leopards built at 28-13 second-quarter lead.

Cummings had hit consecutive 3s in a 25-second span to push the lead to 15 points. But Montour’s defense focused on denying him the ball after halftime, and Cummings attempted just three second-half shots, making one.

“They came out with a game plan to shut me out,” Cumming said. “I’m just happy that my teammates realized that. From Meleek to LA and everybody on the floor, they realized that and they stepped up.”

Thomas scored 13 points, including nine in the second half. Tyriq Eleam led Montour with 15 points and Vason Stevenson added 13. Stevenson also chased after Cummings defensively in the second half.

Montour trailed 33-22 at half but started the third quarter with an 11-5 run fueled by second-chance points. A put-back basket by Eleam cut Lincoln Park’s lead to five midway through the third.

Lincoln Park led 44-39 after three.

In the fourth, Montour closed the gap with a 10-0 run. Two free throws by Montour’s Isayah Mosley forced a tie at 47 with about four minutes left. An offensive rebound and put-back basket by Diaun Pinkett with about two minutes left gave Montour a 49-47 lead — the team’s first of the game.

“They pinched it in (defensively), they got physical, and they denied (Cummings),” Lincoln Park coach Mike Bariski said. “We did some stupid things and turned it over. We panicked instead of them panicking.”

Lincoln Park forced a 49-49 tie with a runner by Thomas with 90 seconds left.

Montour had a chance to retake the lead but lost the ball out of bounds with 45 seconds on the clock. Lincoln Park took possession, ran the clock down to 13 seconds and called timeout. From there, Pratt took the inbounds pass from Cummings and attacked the basket.

“That’s what makes him a Division I player,” Bariski said. “When it’s time to ring the bell, when it’s your turn, you’ve got to deliver. That’s what he did. At a senior moment — a big moment — he delivered.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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