Sharp shooting propels No. 3 Pine-Richland boys past North Allegheny

Friday, January 4, 2019 | 11:06 PM

In what began as a tightly-played game between two rivals Friday night, the Pine-Richland boys basketball team found success from behind the arc in the third quarter en route to a 75-51 victory at North Allegheny.

It was the Rams’ sixth consecutive win against their Section 1-6A rival.

In the third quarter alone, No. 3 Pine-Richland (9-2, 2-0) hit on 5 of 10 3-point attempts to push past the Tigers (5-4, 0-2) and widen the advantage, outscoring the host team 23-7 in the frame.

Pine-Richland’s Logan Murray, starting for an injured Kyle Polce, had four 3-pointers and 17 points. Dan Petcash led all scorers with 20.

“I thought we had four or five misses in the first half that were right there, and could have gone in. I told the guys at halftime that if we stay with it and do what we do, they’re going to fall,” Pine-Richland coach Jeff Ackermann said.

“The way we started out, with that 11-0 run in the third, that gave us the separation we needed right there. I thought we played good defense, too, and we were able to make our shots.”

Ball movement and floor spacing was key for a Rams team that focuses on pushing the tempo on the offensive end. Point guard Greg Shulkosky did well distributing the ball, finding open looks for Petcash, Murray and Colin Luellen, who added 16 points. Shulkosky added 13 points.

“Our goal is to get four guys in double-figures. If we get four guys in doubles, we’re tough to beat,” Ackermann said.

“We try to share it, move it, and most importantly, get open shots. We don’t care who shoots it, as long as they’re open. I got a bunch of basketball guys that understand the game and understand what we’re trying to do.”

North Allegheny kept the Pine-Richland scoring attack bottled up in the first half, and was down just seven, 33-26, at that point. However, the Tigers weren’t able to keep the top-scoring team in the WPIAL (77.3 ppg) down for long. And once the Rams got going, Tigers coach Keith Noftz and his team found it difficult to keep up.

“We didn’t turn it over much tonight. That third quarter just killed us, 23-7. They have a lot of guys that can shoot it,” Noftz said.

“They shot 32 3-pointers and made enough to hurt us. If you go by the stats, we shot well too, but we didn’t execute or rebound very well.”

Mike Iuzzolini was the only North Allegheny player to score in double-figures, tallying 11 points in the loss.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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