No. 2 Aliquippa erases 14-point second-half deficit to defeat Neshannock
By: Chris Harlan
Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 9:51 PM
M.J. Devonshire was taking his official recruiting visit to Kentucky when Aliquippa lost to Neshannock in January, a loss that bothered him hundreds of miles away.
“I started calling people on Facetime to watch the game while I’m out to eat,” he said. “My coach from Kentucky was like, ‘Are you on the phone?’ I said: ‘Yeah, we’re losing!’”
The Quips star felt that feeling again in Thursday night’s rematch, but this time was able to help. Devonshire and Zuriah Fisher each scored 23 points as second-seeded Aliquippa erased a 14-point second-half deficit and defeated No. 7 Neshannock, 68-65, in a WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinal at New Castle.
Neshannock had led 46-32 with 4:30 left before the Quips upped their full-court pressure, converted turnovers into points and rallied back.
“Everybody, the bench, the coaches, everybody gave everything they’ve got tonight,” Aliquippa coach Dwight Hines said. “For us to hold our composure down 14 or 15 points, and still chip away, still play tremendous defense, you can’t ask for nothing better than that.”
Neshannock called timeout with 2.5 seconds left, but a long game-tying 3-pointer by Christopher Scott missed at the buzzer.
Preston Turk led Neshannock (18-6) with 18 points, Scott had 14, Nikolas Rylott had 12 and Jacob McCormick added 11. The Lancers led by six points at halftime and sparked a 10-0 run early in the third quarter, but couldn’t hold on.
“Over time that pressure forced us into plenty of turnovers,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “That repetitive pressure just let our lead evaporate.”
Aliquippa (16-7) advances to face No. 3 North Catholic in a WPIAL semifinal Monday. A site and time was not yet announced.
“It’s about what you have inside of you and that’s heart — everybody in here has got it — you’ve got to dig deep and find it,” said Devonshire, who scored 11 points in the final quarter, including a go-ahead layup with 3:24 left that gave the Quips’ their first lead after halftime.
Still, there were four more lead changes.
The last came on two free throws by Aliquippa’s Dewayne Revis with 2:05 left. The Quips used a crucial rebound by Fisher and four free throws by Devonshire to clinch the win.
Devonshire made two with 33 seconds left and two more with 8.7. He went 9 for 10 from the foul line in the fourth quarter and 11 for 12 overall.
The Section 1 foes split their regular-season matchups. Aliquippa won 53-47 on Dec. 21 and Neshannock won 77-65 on Jan. 25.
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .