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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Park Rallies for Victory, 63-52

Patriots embark on 20-2 run in fourth

January 31, 2013
By NICK BEDWAY, For The Intelligencer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Trailing Brooke 50-43 with just under seven minutes remaining, Wheeling Park went on a 20-2 run, including scoring the final 12 points, to stun the visiting Bruins, 63-52, on Wednesday night.

Senior Andrew Kowalo scored nine of his career-high 17 points and pulled down five rebounds at crunch time to lead the Patriots (5-9). He was one of four Park players contributing double figures as senior Zach Snedeker added 12 points, while Luke Saseen and Chalmer Moffett tossed in 10 each.

The Bruins saw their record slip to 9-6 despite having led by as many as 14 points midway through the second quarter. They hit 50 percent of their shots (13 of 26) during the opening half but made only 6 of 21 the rest of the way.

Article Photos

Wheeling Park’s Theo Blackston (34) draws a block on Brooke’s Ryan Heaton (30) during their game Wednesday night at Wheeling Park high school.

Park also closed the first half on a roll with a 9-0 run that was sparked by sophomore Moffett's three straight buckets to cut the deficit to 33-28.

The Bruins still enjoyed a 47-41 advantage heading into the final eight minutes and following the 6-foot-4 Kowalo's kiss off the glass, Russell Schwertgeger buried his third 3-pointer of the night to push the lead back out to seven points.

Stickbacks from Kowalo and Moffett pulled the Patriots to within three, and they received a huge assist when a personal foul and a technical was whistled against Austin Shambach after he was closely guarded and stripped of the basketball.

Although Snedecker misfired on the 1-and-1, Kowalo stepped to the free-throw line and swished both technical shots, narrowing the Brooke lead to 50-49.

Playing, the high post, Kowalo then spotted Saseen open underneath and got him the ball for an easy layin that put the Patriots ahead for the first time since it was 11-10 midway through the first quarter.

Ryan Heaton's runner gave the Bruins their last edge and what turned out to be their final points of the game with just under four minutes to play. Snedecker sailed in for another layup sending the Patriots back in front to stay at 53-52. Kowalo then yanked down the rebound after a Brooke miss, was fouled and went back to free-throw line where he knocked down both shots.

Despite his team having won just one of the previous six starts entering Wednesday night's contest, Park coach Michael Jebbia still carried good thoughts about his team's progress.

''Since the first Brooke game, we have played better," Jebbia said. ''I told our assistant coaches after our loss to Steubenville not to write our obituary yet. We are going to keep plugging away. There's still eight games left and five of them are at home.

''Chalmer Moffett gave us a huge lift. We were down 14 and his six points helped cut it to five. Then he hit another huge bucket in the fourth quarter.''

Moffett was on the court for 11 minutes and he provided 10 points and seven rebounds.

''The ball has to go in the hole and it didn't," Bruins coach Dave Reitter said. ''I thought our kids played as hard as they could but Michael's kids have been playing hard all year, too.

''It was just a matter of their shots went in at the end and ours didn't. When they made that big run, we had to foul and they hit their free throws."

Brooke, led by Schwetfeger's 18 points and 16 from Johnson, was seven of just nine attempts from the charity line. Park finished 17-for-25, cashing 10 of 14 in the last quarter.

Along with his dozen points, Snedeker also pulled down eight rebounds as Park won the battle underneath the glass, 36-32.

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