Laurel bounces back with rivalry win over Shenango

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 | 9:56 PM

The Shenango Wildcats came into Tuesday’s rivalry game against Laurel as one of the hottest teams in the WPIAL. Conversely, Laurel had lost four of its last five games.

But it was the Spartans who shined on the road, soundly defeating Shenango, 62-38.

The Wildcats had run off eight straight wins and hadn’t lost since an 89-56 setback at the hands of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart on Dec. 13.

Laurel led 13-8 at the end of the first quarter and 28-20 at halftime.

Down 18-17 with three minutes left in the first half, the Spartans closed the half on a 13-2 run to take momentum into the break.

Laurel was led by junior guard Marcus Haswell, who scored 21 points.

Haswell, who had only four points at halftime, scored 10 of his 17 second-half points in the third quarter to help extend the Spartans’ lead to 16 points entering the fourth.

“That was a great team win,” said eighth-year Laurel coach Ken Locke. “But Marcus was outstanding tonight. Marcus is a flat-out competitor. He wants to win. They didn’t have an answer for him tonight defensively.”

Locke also got double-digit scoring from Luke Barker (15) and Sam Haswell (10). Sam Haswell, usually one of Locke’s starters, came off the bench, hoping to provide a lift to get Laurel back into the win column.

The Spartans committed only one turnover in the first half and eight in the game.

Shenango’s top scorer, Colin McQuiston, who averages 18 points per game and scored his 1,000th career point earlier in the year in a road victory against Wilmington, was held to just nine points by the Spartans defense. Case Butchelle added nine points as well on three 3-pointers in the second half.

Shenango head coach Bob McQuiston wasn’t happy with his team’s effort.

“They took it to us from the start. I don’t think we were in this game mentally or emotionally. You can’t do that in a rivalry game,” McQuiston said. “We would call sets (offensively) and guys would be out of position. We called certain defenses and guys weren’t in the right spots.

“But we, as coaches, have to make sure we have these guys prepared mentally to play every game.”

Shenango never got closer than the eight-point halftime deficit in the second half.

With the loss, Shenango falls to 11-3, 4-2 in Section 3-2A. The Wildcats will face OLSH on the road on Friday night. Laurel runs its record to 9-5, 4-2 and will host South Side on Friday.

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