Michael McKendrick, Penn State Mont Alto Student
MONT ALTO, Pa. - It was a wild, high-energy contest that got chippy at times just as head coach Jack Schenzel said that his squad "played hard for 40 minutes." The homestanding Nittany Lions came up short on Friday dropping a 77-70 game to PSU Wilkes-Barre.
Mont Alto wasn't the only team that played hard; Wilkes-Barre was prepared to administrate its game plan and benefited in convenient moments during the game. As for Mont Alto, they were forced to play without there best player, Jalen Smith (who was out for committing two technical fouls in the previous contest), struggled to maintain an offensive attack consistently enough to level up to the league-leading defense of Wilkes-Barre.
From the tip-off, which was recovered by Mont Alto, they had their only lead, which was redirected early by a three pointer by Wilkes-Barre's Kevin Silverberg.
Head coach Jack Schenzel stated that his team is mentally tough and throughout the game they showed no signs of quit despite numerous turnovers, which seemed to be the Achilles heel with 15 overall.
Starting the second half down 10-points, Mont Alto came out with intensity they seemed to lack in the first half. Ryan Hege and Jihad Warner started out by each getting a shot and cleaning the glass with some offensive boards, and Warner finished the possession with a put-back for two points. Warner was huge with 14 points, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal including a big triple at the 15:31 mark.
Mont Alto had streaky moments throughout the game, one streak of which Terrell Campbell ended up cutting it to two with 14 minutes left in the game, but Mont Alto couldn't get any closer for the rest of the contest.
Levaughn Soules knocked down a 15-footer coming out of the timeout, Mont Alto proved their resiliency and fought hard on defense forcing Wilkes-Barre's Kevin Silverberg to use the entire shot clock, but he was still able to find the perfect spot on the glass to bank home a 3-pointer.
Mont Alto got sloppy with a couple passes about halfway through the second half creating some chances for Wilkes-Barre, one of which Soules, who came off the bench to provide the most impressive stats with 15 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals was able to go get the ball above the cylinder and throw it down with emphasis. Wilkes-Barre proved to be too much in the contest for Mont Alto, but they did play a hard-fought game bearing a 77-70 loss.
Mont Alto return to action on Saturday against PSU Worthington Scranton at 4 p.m.