Sheffield beat Brockway on Thursday night at home in front of a packed crowd for senior night.
With the victory, Sheffield improves its record to 13-8 and is one step closer to a District 9 Class AA playoff berth.
Sheffield's opening possession was sloppy but the Wolverines quickly got a 3-pointer in transition, courtesy of Ike Nearing, which would become a trend throughout the game. Nearing finished with a game-high 22 points in the 47-39 Sheffield win.
Times Observer photo by Tyson Himes
From left, Sheffield teammates Kalil Slaughter, George Fitch and Nick Bonavita hit the floor for a loose ball during a 47-39 District 9 win over Brockway on Thursday at Sheffield High School.
Out of a defensive rebound, Nick Bonavita made a long pass to Mark Sprandle to make the score 5-3. The Wolverines then got two steals in a row, the second ending on a three from Sprandle in transition. Sprandle then came back on the defensive side and had a big block off of the glass which turned into more points. Brockway came back with a three with 2:45 to go in the quarter to make the score 10-6. Both teams switched to zone defense and exchanged scores as the quarter came to a close.
Brockway connected on a mid-range jumper to start the quarter; they then stole the ball from Sheffield and connected on a 3-pointer, giving the Rovers their only lead of the night, 13-12.
Sheffield took a time out to steal away a little momentum and it worked. The Wolverines got two quick scores to make the game 16-13 in their favor.
Sheffield got a steal and a layup after a Brockway time out. Then Brockway hit one of seven 3-pointers with under a minute to play in the half.
Sprandle was called for a technical foul with 18 seconds left and the Brockway shooter hit one of two shots. Both teams got a shot at a buzzer beater but neither found the net. The first half closed with the score 20-17 Sheffield.
The Wolverines opened the third quarter in man defense. Brockway used a screen on an out of bounds set underneath Sheffield's basket to drop another three, tying the game up at 22-22.
Two more 3-pointers kept the score tied, 25-25.
Sheffield began to open up a lead when George Fitch connected on a layup and was fouled. Brockway made up Sheffield's lead and was down only one, but the Wolverines had an answer. Nearing connected on two straight layups and a 3-pointer to give his team a 38-32 lead going into the final quarter.
It took over half of the final quarter for either team to score a bucket.
Brockway hit a shot with around four minutes to play to break up the icy shooting. The really decisive moment in the game came after a Brockway 3-pointer and an immediate time out to set up their defense. With 1:02 left to play, Brockway set up a full court press but no one covered deep. Four Brockway defenders were face guarding the Wolverines while one tried to interfere with the pass from the inbounder. Nick Bonavita broke down court and was hit in stride, connecting on a huge layup to make the score 45-39 Sheffield. The home team then efficiently ran the clock down and sealed the senior night victory.
"This was a must-win tonight," said coach Jay Fitch. "If we win tomorrow at Dubois Central Catholic, we are in the ... playoffs. I'm really proud of the seniors. They kept their composure down the stretch, that's what seniors do."
Jay Fitch has been coaching this group of seniors since they were in the fourth grade. He was given the opportunity to coach them to a victory on senior night while head coach Todd Fitch sat back and watched the action unfold.
All six seniors did all of the scoring for Sheffield.
BROCKWAY (39): Fortunato 3 0-0 8, Miller 3 0-0 9, Anderson 4 4-5 12, Rogos 1 0-0 3, Serafini 2 0-0 4, Hatfield 1 0-0 3. Totals 14 4-5 39
SHEFFIELD (47): Ike Nearing 9 0-2 22, Mark Sprandle 3 2-5 9, Kalil Slaughter 2 0-0 4, Nick Bonavita 1 0-0 2, Josh Anderson 1 1-2 3, George Fitch 3 1-1 7, Brendan Winslow 0 0-0 0, Dylan McNeal 0 0-0 0, Dylan Reynolds 0 0-0 0, Tyler Fitzgerald 0 0-0 0, Kuante Johnson 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 4-10 47
BROCKWAY 8 9 15 7 -39
SHEFFIELD 12 8 18 9 -47
3-pointers. B-Miller 3, Fortunato 2, Rogos 1, Hatfield 1. S-Ike Nearing 4, Mark Sprandle 1.
Junior varsity game
BROCKWAY (52): Dausen Crawford 2 2-2 6, Phil Esposito 1 0-1 2, Cody Jose 3 1-2 10, Jake Perrin 4 7-11 16, Kyle Titler 5 2-4 12, Zach Puhala 1 2-6 4, Darren Olivio 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 14-26 52
SHEFFIELD (44): Nic Confer 1 0-0 3, Luke McCraken 0 0-0 0, Brendan Winslow 5 5-6 17, Kwante Johnson 3 0-0 6, Noah Heeter 0 0-0 0, Dylan McNeal 5 1-7 11, Brandon Kipp 1 0-0 2, Travis Peterson 1 1-2 3, Tyler Fitzgerald 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 7-15 44
BROCKWAY 10 17 16 9 -52
SHEFFIELD 8 14 9 13 -44
3-pointers. B-Cody Jose 3, Jake Perrin 1. S-Brendan Winslow 2, Nic Confer 1.