Second Half Surge Helps Kiski Past Connellsville, 66-56

Posted on:

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.

Check out our pre-game interviews from Friday’s broadcast with Kiski Area head coach Joey Tutchstone and Connellsville head coach Dan Bosnic.

"Game of the Week" Players of the Game

1/4Michael SimmonsKiski AreaBoys BasketballKiski Area at Connellsville
1/6Danielle WallNorth AlleghenyGirls BasketballPine-Richland at North Allegheny
1/10Paris FordCentral CatholicBoys BasketballGateway at Central Catholic
1/14Katy AbreuPenn-TraffordGirls BasketballPenn-Trafford at Norwin
1/14Alex HaasNorwinBoys BasketballPenn-Trafford at Norwin
1/23Diandra ConwellUpper St. ClairGirls BasketballBaldwin at Upper St. Clair
1/24Elijah ZeiseNorth AlleghenyBoys BasketballSeneca Valley at North Allegheny
1/27Mia MattesBethel ParkGirls BasketballMt. Lebanon at Bethel Park
1/30Monica BurnsHempfieldGirls BasketballHempfield at Kiski Area
1/31Erin MathiasFox ChapelGirls BasketballFox Chapel at Gateway
1/31Matt D'AmicoFox ChapelBoys BasketballFox Chapel at Gateway
2/6Madison KerrPeters TownshipGirls BasketballCanon-McMillan at Peters Township
2/7Conor GallagherUpper St. ClairBoys BasketballUpper St. Clair at Mt. Lebanon