Neshannock keeps Yough stars in check in Class 3A quarterfinal win

Thursday, February 23, 2023 | 10:36 PM

Normally, a coach will be critical of his team’s offensive performance.

Yough basketball coach Jim Nesser’s assessment of his team was the opposite. He was disappointed with the defensive effort.

Neshannock knocked Yough into the consolation round Thursday by defeating the Cougars, 53-49, in a WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinal at North Hills.

The Lancers will face Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, which defeated Shady Side Academy, 53-42, in the semifinals.

“We didn’t defend well enough,” Nesser said. “It’s the first time in two months that I can say that.”

The Lancers, co-champions with Mohawk in Section 1, trailed only once against the Cougars, 19-18, in the third quarter after they raced out to a 6-0 lead.

Neither offense was stellar in the first half as both teams had trouble putting the ball in the hoop. Neshannock led 8-6 after a quarter and 15-12 at halftime.

“Both teams pride themselves on defense, so I knew it would be tough to score,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “I expected it to be a slugfest, and it was.”

It took Yough nearly five minutes to score its first points, a layup by Austin Matthews. The 6-foot-5 junior center ended up with 19 points and kept the Cougars in the game in the first half.

Yough’s leading scorer, junior Terek Crosby, didn’t score his first points of the game until there was 30 seconds left in the first half.

“Holding Terek to two points in the first half was huge,” Corey said. “I felt we did a good job on him and Matthews. He’s a handful and the first true post player we’ve faced this season, and we made him earn his points.

“As for Crosby, we knew he’d get his points because he’s so athletic. If there was one area we allowed him to shoot from was beyond the arc. He still made four 3-pointers in the second half.”

As bad as the offenses were in the first half, they heated up in the second half.

Crosby scored 18 of his team-high 20 points in the second half.

“Shots wouldn’t drop in the first half,” Nesser said. “Terek played like a star in the second half. But it was our defense that cost us.”

Neshannock’s Jack Glies scored 22 of his game-high 27 points in the second half. He scored 11 points in the third quarter and 11 in the fourth quarter.

The game was close the entire second half. But every time Yough made a run, Glies had an answer.

Neshannock also was 10-for-10 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and finished 14 for 19. Yough was 3 for 10 from the free-throw line.

“Jack is starting to realize how good he can be,” Corey said. “In the last seven games, he’s taken over games.”

Neshannock (18-5) has won seven consecutive games. The Cougars (16-8) saw their 11-game winning streak end.

Yough will play Shady Side Academy in a PIAA play-in game.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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