Mekhi Reynolds stars for Shaler in win over Franklin Regional
Friday, January 10, 2020 | 10:02 PM
Shaler basketball coach Rob Niederberger feels Mekhi Reynolds is one of the better players in the WPIAL.
You’ll get no argument from Franklin Regional coach Steve Scorpion, especially on Friday.
Reynolds, who averages 21 points per game, scored a game-high 31 points to help lead first-place Shaler to a 76-69 victory in Section 3-5A action.
The victory improves the Titans record to 9-3 overall and 6-0 in the section. Franklin Regional fell to 4-9 and 2-4.
Reynolds was unstoppable at times throughout the game. He scored nine points in the opening quarter including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Shaler a 19-16 lead.
“We expect him to do what he did. He’s a premier player,” Niederberger said. “I knew he played well and he distributed the ball well. He made great decisions at the end of the game.
“It was a good game, but honestly he’s been playing well all year. I could tell right off the bat he was locked in.”
Despite turning the ball over 12 times in the first half, Franklin Regional managed to grab a 32-29 lead midway through the second quarter.
That’s when sophomore Tyler Beighley picked up the slack and drained consecutive 3-pointers to give Shaler the lead for good at 35-32.
Beighley finished with 11 points, nine in the second quarter.
“He’s a shooter,” Niederberger said. “That’s why we put him in, to take pressure off Mekhi.”
Shaler led 45-38 at halftime.
“After I hit the shot at the end of the first quarter, the hoop got real big,” Reynolds said. “The entire team was locked in. This was a big win for us because they beat us twice last year.”
Franklin Regional closed to within 45-40 early in the third quarter on consecutive buckets by Logan Summerhill.
But Reynolds drained a 3-pointer and the Titans went on a 13-2 run to open up a 64-47 lead.
Franklin Regional used a 6-0 run to close the third quarter to pull to within 64-53.
“Mekhi is a good player,” Scorpion said. “We told the guys that he’d be the best scoring guard we faced all year and he was. He made some tough shots and shot the ball from deep. He made tough shots.”
Franklin Regional just didn’t roll over. The Panthers continued to fight, trimmed the lead to 72-66 late and had a chance to cut the advantage even further before Chris White blocked a shot by the Panthers’ Caden Smith.
Turnovers also haunted the Panthers. They finished with 20 and it cost them.
“We’ve committed too many turnovers all season,” Scorpion said. “We didn’t take care of the ball, and we turn the ball over a lot, and we allowed too many offensive rebounds.”
Smith finished with 21 points for the Panthers, Summerhill had 18 and Johnny O’Toole 14 points and 18 rebounds.
White finished with 13 for the Titans, while Jake Miller and Beighley each added 11.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
More Basketball• Mt. Pleasant hires T.J. Kravits as new boys basketball coach
• Trib HSSN girls athlete of the year: Morningstar shines bright for champion North Allegheny
• Valley News Dispatch boys athlete of the year: Highlands’ Crise savored super senior seasons
• Westmoreland County boys athlete of the year: GCC’s Nate Ward showed will to win in 4 sports
• Rebel Yell Podcast: Best of the Century salute to Spencer Lee and Maura Huwalt