Trib HSSN boys basketball team of the week for March 12, 2023

Sunday, March 12, 2023 | 10:26 PM

Falling behind early on the road in a PIAA basketball playoff game is not a good recipe for success.

Trailing by double-digit points heading into the fourth quarter of a state playoff game is usually a countdown to your season being over.

The Neshannock boys experienced both of those not-so-enjoyable feelings in the first round Saturday and overcame each one to survive and advance.

The Lancers fell behind by nine points after one quarter and trailed by 11 through three quarters before rallying to knock of District 10 runner-up Oil City in a PIAA Class 3A first-round game.

“The game plan from the get-go was to get up and apply some pressure, and I thought we could turn them over a little bit,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “But most of the stuff we do is off made field goals, and whether it was missing some layups or turning the ball over, we weren’t able to get into our style of defense we like to play.”

Neshannock limited Oil City to nine second-quarter points to keep the game within reach.

Even though the Oilers outscored the Lancers, 21-18, in the third quarter to extend their lead to 11, Corey felt the momentum started to change in the third.

“About two minutes into the third quarter, we finally found our niche,” he said. “We created some turnovers that gave us some success, and I think rolled over into the fourth.”

In that quarter, Neshannock outscored Oil City, 26-13, to pull off the comeback and propel the Lancers into the second round.

Senior Jack Glies had a huge game for Neshannock with 30 points, 15 above his regular-season average. Senior Luciano DeLillo added 10 points.

“Our seniors in Luciano DeLillo, Nate Rynd and Jack Glies have really been playing good basketball for us all season long,” Corey said. “As of recently, Jack has had some monster games down the stretch going back to the Mohawk game that allowed us to win a share of the section title. In these playoffs, he’s been unbelievable. Without his efforts, we’re not preparing for a Sweet 16 game on Wednesday.”

Those three have played a big role for the Lancers, but others have contributed in a big way as well, including a junior who got a rare start Saturday.

“We’ve had a lot of underclassmen step up,” Corey said. “We have a kid by the name of Jaxson Mozzocio, who usually comes off the bench. He gave me a big hug after the game and said, ‘Coach, I could only give you two points for us,’ but we don’t win without those two points.”

Neshannock improved to 19-7 with the win and hopes to pick up victory No. 20 on Wednesday when it travels to Clarion University to face District 9 champion Brookville (23-2).

“A very good team,” Corey said. “Brookville’s big, they’re physical, obviously, a very successful team. They like to control the tempo a little bit, and they are very well coached. We played them two years ago in a state game at Clarion as well. We actually played them in the New Castle fall league, for what it’s worth. We’ll try to find a way to get it done. We’ll have our hands full.”

2023 Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Teams of the Week

Week 9: Deer Lakes Lancers

Week 8: Penn Hills Indians

Week 7: Monessen Greyhounds

Week 6: Seton LaSalle Rebels

Week 5: New Castle Red Hurricanes

Week 4: Hampton Talbots

Week 3: Mohawk Warriors

Week 2: Central Catholic Vikings

Week 1: Thomas Jefferson Jaguars


More Basketball

Leechburg boys basketball coach Damian Davies resigns
Penn Hills notebook: Drew Schifino plans basketball camp
Freeport grad takes over boys basketball program
Former OLSH basketball star Jake DiMichele commits to Duquesne
Penn Hills notebook: Daemar Kelly earns all-state honors