Boys Basketball - Latrobe vs Franklin Regional
Another Buzzer Beater Lifts Latrobe Boys to 56-53 Senior Night Win over Franklin Regional
Scouting report for teams that draw Greater Latrobe in the upcoming WPIAL boys basketball playoffs: Don't let anyone with the surname Sickenberger take a last minute shot if the game is on the line.
Latrobe senior Ryan Sickenberger drained a long range 3-pointer as the final horn sounded, giving the Wildcats a 56-53 home victory over Franklin Regional on Wednesday, February 17. It was Sickenberger's second game winner in recent weeks, and might be something that runs in the family DNA. He hit a game winning shot to secure a one-point win against Woodland Hills on January 22nd, while brother Chase drained a trey to beat McKeesport at the buzzer 12 days ago.
After the home crowd applauded the Latrobe senior players who were recognized before tipoff, the teams ran the floor in a fairly even first quarter with the Panthers holding a 16-15 lead after 8 minutes of play.
Luke Kimmich, Caden Smith, and Kayden Hannah handled all of the Panthers' second quarter scoring as they combined for 18 and Franklin Regional opened a 34-29 lead at halftime.
The Wildcats clawed their way back in the third quarter, outscoring the Panthers 14-8, taking a 43-42 lead into quarter four.
The game remained a back-and-forth contest throughout the final quarter, with several lead changes and ties. Luke Kimmich drained a 3 pointer from the corner for the Panthers with 2:01 to play, squaring the teams at 52 apiece for the sprint to the end.
Neither team scored again until Kimmich was fouled with 25.5 to play, hitting the front of a one-and-one for a 53-52 Panthers lead. But their lead was short lived as the Panthers' Kayden Hannah went over the back of Latrobe's Frank Newill when Kimmich's second free throw missed the mark. Newill drained the first of two in the double bonus on the opposite end to tie the game at 53.
After the inbound, Franklin Regional called a timeout with 19 seconds to play to set up their offense. Ryan Sickenberger almost stole the ball from Franklin Regional's Caden Smith, but Smith regained control and tossed it to Kimmich, who found Hannah headed to the hoop for an apparent layup. But Hannah's shot attempt was whistled for a traveling infraction before he got it to the rim, and Latrobe took over with 6.6 left on the game clock.
Ryan Sickenberge took the inbound pass and dribbled to near the three-point arc, narrowly avoided the outstretched arm of a converging Smith, then launched a somewhat awkward looking rainbow that swished through the twine just before the backboard glass lit up in red as the horn sounded. A stunned looking Sickenberger, with a senior moment on senior night that he'll remember forever, was quickly swamped by teammates who lifted him in celebration of victory in the 56-53 thriller.
Latrobe's Ryan Sickenberger led all scoring with 17, and sophomore Landon Butler followed with 16. Additional senior players getting on the board for Latrobe were Drew Clair with 9, Frank Newill with 7, and Nick Rauco with 4. Seniors Pat Shimko and Michael Shoemaker also saw playing time for the tWildcats.
Franklin Regional had three players in double figures, Caden Smith with 15, Kayden Hannah with 14, and Luke Kimmich with 11.
The game marked a season series split in Class 5A Section 3 competition between the two Westmoreland County teams. Next up for Latrobe (6-5, 6-3) is a non-conference home game against Route 30 neighbor Ligonier Valley on 2/24. Franklin Regional (5-4, 5-2) is back in action Thursday with a conference game at Kiski Area.
Click this link for a gallery of over 280 action photos from this game, available for purchase or sharing.
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