Meadville Tribune

Sports

February 1, 2014

’Dogs hold off rival Knights

FRANKLIN — The best remedy after a tough loss? Beating your arch-rival on their home court.

Coming off a hard-fought 53-50 loss to George Junior Republic on Friday night, Meadville refused to look in the rear view mirror on Saturday as the Bulldogs knocked off their long-time nemesis Franklin 62-54 in Region 5 action.

MASH improved to 6-10 overall and 4-7 in the region.

Despite playing back-to-back days, Meadville coach Mark McElhinny entered the Franklin clash feeling very confident about his team’s chances.

“I had a good feeling we were going to rebound,” he said. “These are good kids. I was very happy with our performance ... in a lot of areas.”

The Bulldogs’ fourth-quarter effort in particular.

On many occasions this season, Meadville has allowed a fourth-quarter lead to slip away and the end result was a loss. The Bulldogs’ main achilles this season: closing out a ‘W.’

Early in the fourth quarter, it appeared the ’Dogs were headed down that road again.

Clinging to a 46-38 lead with 5:57 left in the game, Meadville’s execution on offense started sputtering — four turnovers in the next two minutes — as Franklin stormed back and took a 51-50 lead with 2:05 left in the game.

Fearing another possible collapse, McElhinny called timeout. His vital points in the brief discussion:

“I wanted the players to slow down and make sure we get open looks ... and to make sure we handle their press,” he said.

Mission accomplished.

After sophomore Jason Clune sank two free throws to give MASH a 52-51 lead, freshman guard Armoni Foster got free underneath and scored on a layup to increase the Bulldogs’ lead to 54-51 with 1:20 left in the game.

The Bulldogs then sealed the ‘W’ at the free throw line as they made five-of-six freebies within 20 seconds to push their lead to 59-53 with 28 ticks left in the game. The cool-hand ’Dogs: junior Shequon Lindsey netted three and junior Faizon McClure swished two.

“We took care of the ball and we made our free throws,” said McElhinny.

The MASH boss had a lingering dilemma entering the game: the status of his star player, Clune. Against George Junior, Clune was fouled hard and it was uncertain if he was going to play against Franklin.

McElhinny watched him during warm-ups and Clune — a groin injury according to reports — gave him the thumbs-up.

Although playing with a slight hitch in his giddy up, Clune had another productive night with a game-high 23 points.

Meadville’s X-factor in the game: Lindsey. Totally \dominating the inside, the talented junior scored 13 points and pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds. He also dished out a team-high four assists.

Lindsey’s play grabbed McElhinny’s attention.

“Sheq is really coming on ... he is starting to become more assertive,” said McElhinny. “He is a good kid and I think he has a bright future.”

McClure also hit double digits for MASH with 13.

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