Mt. Pleasant boys basketball team turns to defense to get first victory

Mt. Pleasant boys basketball team turns to defense to get first victory


Friday December 16, 2022 | 10:42 p.m

Mt. Pleasant recently deployed an extended 2-3 zone defense and began to see its merits in the Nonsection boys’ basketball game at rival Southmoreland Friday night.

“We were just wondering when our offense would come,” said Vikings coach TJ Kravits. “Tonight it finally worked.”

Yukon Daniels returned after missing two games with an injury and scored a career-high 21 points to lead Mt. Pleasant to its first win of the season, 55-53 over the Scotties in front of a sizeable crowd at Alverton.

“It was incredible,” said Daniels, who played mostly junior varsity last year. “We wouldn’t want to get our first win against anyone else.”

Desperate to win, the Vikings (1-5) shot eight 3-pointers to give the Scotties (4-1) their first loss. The Zone was effective in forcing the Scotties into miscues.

“We have people who can shoot with it,” Kravits said. “So it’s difficult to find a single guy. It was nice to get Yukon back. Connor (Pavlocak) took on a more prominent role. (Brayden) Caletri has been solid all year.”

Scotties all-time goalscorer Ty Keffer injured his ankle in the second quarter with 4 minutes and 25 seconds left in the game. He didn’t come back.

Keffer, who had a 45-point game earlier in the season, had 11 points at the time of his setback. He tested the ankle as he walked around behind the team bench but said it was painful to put pressure on it.

“Mentally it was a boost for us,” Kravits said of Keffer’s departure. “It was just as draining for her, I’m sure. We lost (top scorer) Dante Giallonardo (earlier this year) so we know how tough it can be.”

Another starter, Wyatt Richter, also did not play for Southmoreland.

Daniels, who scored 10 in the second quarter, had three 3s and Pavlocak had two, including one from the corner with 58.1 seconds left to make it 53-50.

Lemont Rogers and Chase McCloy each had a 3. McCoy finished with 13 points and Brayden Caletri added 10.

The game saw 12 lead changes and four draws before the Vikings finally took the lead late in the fourth round.

McCloy made two free throws with 43.5 seconds to play to make it 55-50.

Noah Felentzer knocked in a corner 3 for the Scotties with about 20 seconds left to cut it to 55-53.

But just as quickly as the Scotties forced possession, they turned it back with 17.1 remaining.

Mt. Pleasant clock ticked off from there.

“We lost the ball all the time and had no defense,” said Southmoreland coach Frank Muccino. “We couldn’t stay from our shadow tonight. We made bad decisions and we panicked.”

Elijah Myers led the Scotties with 18 points, including three 3s and 16 in the second half.

The teams combined for 14 3-pointers, eight from Mt. Pleasant, and made six straight — four by the Vikings — in a back-and-forth third quarter.

After Myers hit a 3 to give Southmoreland a 36-35 advantage, McCloy responded with one of his own as the Vikings forged a 40-38 lead into the fourth.

The Vikings took a 46-40 lead before Myers floater equaled at 46-46 with 3-45 to play.

The start of Mt Pleasant boded well. The Vikings won the tip and then took a 7-0 lead before Southmoreland leveled 13-13.

Mt. Pleasant led 25-22 at halftime.

“Mountain. Pleasant was the better team tonight,” Muccino said. “Losing Ty was big. He is a smart player and plays with a slow heart. We lost a leader with the ball in hand. Someone else had to step up.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a contributor to the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill via email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

tags: mountain pleasantSouthmoreland

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