Latrobe boys basketball gets thrilling victory vs. Franklin Regional
Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | 10:29 PM
Ryan Sickenberger thought the ball might miss the rim completely when he double-clutched and launched a desperation 3-pointer as the final seconds ticked off.
“Frankie (Newill) set a great screen,” the Latrobe senior lefty guard said. “I was just looking for a shot. I thought it was a little flat. I was just trying to get it off … I didn’t realize it was that on line.”
Sickenberger’s heave, from about three feet outside the 3-point arc — left elbow with three defenders closing in around him — splashed down and gave the Wildcats a thrilling, 56-53 victory over visiting Franklin Regional in Section 3-5A on Wednesday night, senior night for the Wildcats.
Sickenberger and his brother, Chase, have had a flair for the dramatic. Ryan hit a winner against Woodland Hills, and Chase made a 3 to stun McKeesport at the buzzer.
“It’s all about repetition for us,” said Ryan Sickenberger, who had a game-high 17 points.
“They’re all big shots for me.”
Said Latrobe coach Brad Wetzel: “Ryan was making that shot last July. He shoots thousands of shots a day.”
The win shows how far Latrobe (6-5, 6-3) has come since its first showdown with Franklin Regional, the first Class 5A opponent the Wildcats faced after moving down one classification.
Junior Chase Sickenberger played solid defense on Franklin Regional leading scorer and 6-foot-4 forward Kadyn Hannah, who was held to 14 points.
“You have to give (Ryan Sickenberger) credit,” Panthers coach Steve Scorpion said.
“It was a good shot. Lucky shot. Clutch shot. All-the-above shot. I guess it’s a positive that, after all that, it took a shot like that to beat us.”
Senior Luke Kimmich made 1 of 2 free throws with 25.5 seconds to make it 53-52, but Franklin Regional (5-4, 5-2) committed the 10th foul on the Wildcats, sending Newill to the line with 25 seconds. He also made 1 of 2 to tie it 53-53.
After a Franklin Regional turnover, the Wildcats got the ball back with 6 seconds left, and Ryan Sickenberger went the length of the floor before pulling up for his winner.
Franklin Regional led by eight in the second quarter and led most of the third. But Latrobe regained the edge early in the fourth before four lead changes and two ties inside the final five minutes.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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