Wreckers steal win
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Nate Pfeifer (44) of Weatherly puts up a shot over Minersville's Zach Dixon (left) as Cole Weachock moves in to help out.
With less than a minute to play in the second overtime, it looked as if Minersville may just have enough time to "steal" a win from host Weatherly.
But the Wreckers' Keith Barna and George Wallish had other ideas.The duo combined for five points in the final 37 seconds to help Weatherly pull out a 58-54 victory over the Battlin' Miners.
Barna and Wallish both came up with steals in the game's final seconds to give the Wreckers the Schuylkill League win.
"That was great," said Wallish, who clinched the game with his steal with 4.8 seconds left. "I just went for it. I lost it at first as it bounced off my arm.
"But, I was able to get my hands on it then I took it all the way for the easy lay-up."
While Barna, Brendan Rowan, Nate Pfeiffer and Christian Ormiston accounted for 13 of the Wreckers' 15 steals, it was the one Wallish cashed in on that saved the day for the home team.
While it's expected of the seniors to step up big in the heat of the moment, Wreckers' coach Ron Cann was pleased to see Wallish, an inexperienced underclassmen, to come through with the game on the line.
"George is a work in progress because he never played varsity basketball until this year," Cann said. "This is first year starting. He's learning how to play and learning the intensity. He has been through a lot, but he's learning.
"He stepped up and stole the ball and made the last layup to ice it for us."
After the Battlin' Miners' Cole Weachock tied the game in the waning moments of regulation and the end of the first overtime period, Barna and Rowan refused to see it happen all over again in the second overtime.
Right after the Wreckers won the tip, Barna found Rowan open for the final of his four three-pointers on the night to give the hosts a 50-47 lead with 3:43 left.
The Miners fought back as David King's three-point play gave his team a 54-53 lead with :58 left.
Refusing to surrender, Barna turned in two huge defensive plays to put Weatherly back on top.
First, he stole the ball and drove in for a layup with :21 left to put his team ahead, 55-54. He followed with his seventh steal of the game with 14.1 seconds left and then hit a free throw for a two-point Wrecker lead.
Wallish then provided the finishing touches with his steal and layup.
"I was telling them in the huddle that this is when it comes down to heart," Barna said. "We got to have heart and play our butts off. We just got to keep going and you can't give up."
That they did as the Wreckers stole the show on their own hardwood.
"That's a big "W" at home because I preach to everybody that this is your house,"Cann said. "We've tried to instill something in them the last three years that they have to play hard because this is their home. You have to protect it."
Whitman 0-0-0-0, Hablett 2-0-0-5, Albertini 0-0-1-0, Weachock 7-2-3-16, Melochick 0-0-0-0, Kopinetz 2-2-2-6,Dixon 2-1-2-7, King 7-6-7-20, Haney 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-11-15-54.
Ormiston 0-0-0-0, Barna 9-6-8-25, Rowan 5-0-1-14, Weichman 0-0-0-0, Wallish 4-0-0-8, Pfeiffer 5-0-0-11, Harris 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-6-9-58.
Minersville 10 10 10 13 4 7 7 - 54
Weatherly 11 13 12 7 4 11 - 58
Three-pointer: M - Dixon 2, Hablett 1; W - Rowan 4, Barna 2.