Second Half Surge Helps Kiski Past Connellsville, 66-56
In the debut of the MSA Sports & Quad-A Conference Boys’ Basketball Game of the Week, the Kiski Area Cavaliers outlasted the Connellsville Falcons by a 66-56 decision on Friday night. The Cavaliers may have been outsized by the much taller Falcons, but Kiski was able to outwork Connellsville on the offensive glass and used a strong second half performance to secure the win. Junior guard Michael Simmons buried five three-pointers for Kiski and scored a game-high 28 points, with 18 coming in the second half. For his efforts, Simmons was named the Quad-A Network’s Player of the Game.
Simmons and the Cavs held a narrow 13-12 lead after the first quarter before the Falcons big men spurred on a 12-2 run to open the second period. Standing at 6-10, center Trent Bauer imposed his will in the paint with 10 points and numerous blocked shots. Junior forward Caleb Pittsment was also a factor down low as he added another eight points and helped Connellsville take a 31-23 lead into halftime.
While Bauer and Pittsment paced the Falcons in the first half, they were silenced by Kiski in the second half as the duo combined for just two points for the rest of the game. With Connellsville’s hulking center and forward held at bay, the Cavaliers opened the third quarter with an 11-0 run to take a 34-31 lead. Not until over four minutes into the quarter did Kiski finally score from the field as back-to-back buckets by Pittsment and James Leichlighter helped Connellsville regain the lead, 35-34. Leichlighter had a huge night for the Falcons as he poured in a team-high 25 points, with 17 coming in the second half.
The lead exchanged hands in the final few minutes until Kiski grabbed a 53-51 lead and came away with critical offensive rebounds to turn a two-point game into a ten-point victory. Simmons came up empty on a three-point try late in the fourth, but followed his own shot for a rebound and lay-in to up the score to 55-51, Kiski. On the Cavaliers next possession, another miss was followed by a rebound by Billy Johnson who converted for another lay-up and a 57-51 lead. Senior Joey Brungo, who finished with 16 points, put the game away with four free-throws down the stretch as Kiski pulled away for a 66-56 victory.
Kiski Area improves to 6-4 overall and 4-0 in Section 1-AAAA. Connellsville falls to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in section play. The Cavaliers host Penn-Trafford on Tuesday night while the Falcons are return to the hardwood today to face Burrell at 1:00 pm.
"Game of the Week" Players of the Game
|1/4||Michael Simmons||Kiski Area||Boys Basketball||Kiski Area at Connellsville|
|1/6||Danielle Wall||North Allegheny||Girls Basketball||Pine-Richland at North Allegheny|
|1/10||Paris Ford||Central Catholic||Boys Basketball||Gateway at Central Catholic|
|1/14||Katy Abreu||Penn-Trafford||Girls Basketball||Penn-Trafford at Norwin|
|1/14||Alex Haas||Norwin||Boys Basketball||Penn-Trafford at Norwin|
|1/23||Diandra Conwell||Upper St. Clair||Girls Basketball||Baldwin at Upper St. Clair|
|1/24||Elijah Zeise||North Allegheny||Boys Basketball||Seneca Valley at North Allegheny|
|1/27||Mia Mattes||Bethel Park||Girls Basketball||Mt. Lebanon at Bethel Park|
|1/30||Monica Burns||Hempfield||Girls Basketball||Hempfield at Kiski Area|
|1/31||Erin Mathias||Fox Chapel||Girls Basketball||Fox Chapel at Gateway|
|1/31||Matt D'Amico||Fox Chapel||Boys Basketball||Fox Chapel at Gateway|
|2/6||Madison Kerr||Peters Township||Girls Basketball||Canon-McMillan at Peters Township|
|2/7||Conor Gallagher||Upper St. Clair||Boys Basketball||Upper St. Clair at Mt. Lebanon|