Boys Basketball - Latrobe vs Hempfield
Hempfield Boys Top Latrobe in 71-68 Non-Conference Overtime Battle
For years, the boys of Hempfield Area and Greater Latrobe met twice a year to battle on the basketball court, often with the section champion's title on the line. Recent reclassification has put the teams in different competition classes; Hempfield in 6A and Latrobe in 5A, eliminating the automatic section matchups. But that didn't stop the two rivals from getting together once again for a non-conference game on Wednesday, January 27 at Latrobe. They seemed to enjoy playing so much that they took another 4 minutes in overtime before crowning a winner, with the Spartans of Hempfield outlasting the Wildcats 71-68.
The game started out close before the Spartans worked to build a 18-12 lead by the end of the opening quarter.
But the Wildcats opened the second quarter on a run, scoring 9 unanswered points in the first two minutes to take a three point lead. Hempfield got it back to all-square at 21 on a Christian Zilli field goal, plus an and-one free throw, with 5 minutes to play. The teams played each other close for the remainder of the half, with Hempfield taking a 27-25 lead into the visitors locker room at intermission. Hempfield kept the Wildcats off the free throw line throughout the first half, committing only 2 team fouls to 7 for the Wildcats.
The third quarter saw Hempfield grow their margin by one, taking a 43-40 lead to the final quarter, with Mike Hosni scoring 10 points in the quarter.
Latrobe battled back to hold a two point lead in the final minute, before Zilli scored on a put-back with under 20 seconds to play. Latrobe called timeout with 10 seconds on the clock to set up a final shot, but a turnover gave possession back to the Spartans with 5 seconds remaining. Hempfield had a chance to win in regulation but Joe Fiedor's jump shot was off the rim as time expired and the teams headed to center court for the jump ball to begin overtime.
Fiedor quickly got redemption for the missed shot in regulation, hitting from behind the arc 16 seconds into overtime to give Hempfield a 61-58 lead. A Chase Sickenberger field goal moved the Wildcats to within one point before Hempfield's Sean Gordon was fouled as he scored in the paint, hitting the and-one for a 64-60 Spartans lead.
A Ryan Sickenberger field goal for Latrobe, and a free throw by Hempfield's Dom Hipps made the score 65-62 with under 75 seconds remaining on the clock. Hipps added a field goal for the Spartans, and Drew Clair answered with a three-pointer for Latrobe, and Hempfield clung to a 67-65 lead with under 40 seconds to play.
Clair fouled out for the Wildcats, putting Zilli on the line where he drained both shots. Hosni was sent to the line soon after, where he made both shots, and Hempfield led 71-65 with under 15 seconds left. Ryan Sickenberger nailed a three-pointer for the Wildcats with a few seconds left, but Hempfield was able to run out the clock without inbounding to take the 71-68 win.
Michael Hosni and Joe Fiedor both had 17 to lead the Spartans, with Christian Zilli adding 14 and Sean Gordon 13. Ryan Sickenberger led Latrobe with a game-high 19 points, while Drew Clair scored 12 as Landon Butler and Frank Newill each added 11.
Next up for Hempfield (4-2, 3-1) is a home conference game Friday against Norwin. Latrobe (3-4, 3-2) is scheduled to host Franklin Regional on 2/2.
Watch this link for a full gallery of action photos available for purchase or sharing the day after the game.
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