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HERMITAGE – It was pick your poison, and neither option was particularly appealing for Slippery Rock High boys’ basketball team.

Host Hickory hit shots from outside the arc and inside the lane, resulting in a 62-33 Region 4 rout of the Rockets.

At The Hive Friday night, Aidan Enoch and Tyson Djakovich evenly divided 8 buckets from beyond the 3-point line, while Jackson Pryts posted a game-high 19 points – often off touch passes from front-court mate Joey Fazzone. 

Commenced Hickory Head Coach Chris Mele, “Tyson, last year with the jayvees, averaged twenty points a game – that’s the kind of player he is. He’d been in a little bit of a slump, but he’s worked out of it the last three, four games and you’re startin’ to see that he’s gaining his confidence,” mentor Mele mused, “and he’s playing a whole game, on both ends, right now, playing really good defensively, too. 

“He’s in a good rhythm right now, and when Tyson’s in a good rhythm we’re a much better team. That opens things up for Aidan, Christian (Evangelista) and Tyler (Mele). And then you see our post players. Those two work so well together. It’s really fun to watch those guys feed off each other,” Mele added regarding Pryts and Fazzone.

“I was really feelin’ it, and all the players around me were just gettin’ me the ball when I was open. It’s fun to play on a team like this, where you know your teammates are gonna get you if you’re open and you’re feelin it,” Djakovich related. “That’s what we do; we were sharin’ the ball well, workin’ in and out.

“(Thursday night) against Grove City I felt like I was shooting uncharacteristic shots and missin’ them,” Djakovich admitted. “But (against Slippery Rock) I just took my time and settled in. And once I hit the first few it felt good. 

“I feel like I can shoot the ball from anywhere, so I don’t have a favorite spot,” added Djakovich, who finished 4-for-9 from long range.

Fazzone finished with a game-high 11 rebounds and dished out a team-high 5 dimes, while Enoch, Pryts, Mele and Christian Evangelista (3 apiece) and Djakovich and Devin Daniels (2 each) were credited with multiple assists.

Led by Pryts’ 8-for-9 performance, Hickory hit 23 of 50 floor shots (46%) and converted 8 of 12 free throws. The Hornets (5-1, 8-3) had just 9 turnovers and out-rebounded Slippery Rock, 32-21.

Hickory’s defense was dominant. Slippery Rock did not score a 1st-quarter field goal. Approximately 24 hours after a convincing road win at Greenville the Rockets had almost as many 1st-half turnovers (10) as points (12), resulting in just 16 field-goal attempts.

Consequently, the host Hornets harvested leads of 12-3, 31-12, and 45-24, respectively, at the conclusion of each quarter.

For Slippery Rock (3-3, 5-6), Dylan Gordon garnered a team-high 14 points, Shane Thompson tallied 8, and John Sabo distributed a handful of assists while Walker Vogan hauled down a handful of caroms. But Coach A.J. Motta’s Rockets recorded 11-for-36 (30.5%) shooting from the field and 6-for-11 from the line. They committed only 5 second-half miscues.

“Listen,” Mele said, “Slippery Rock is much better. They are going to beat some teams. They’ve already shown that – they had a big win at Greenville (Thursday) night. Coach does a really nice job with the whole program; he’s turning it around. We didn’t come in here takin’ them lightly at all; as a matter of fact, we were concerned ‘cause they have some weapons. We just made it look a little easier than what it was, just because of our defensive effort. So I couldn’t be more proud. It was fantastic ... we were all over the place.

“You know, we said, about mid-January, we hoped to be playin’ some good ball ...” Mele mused, later adding, “Just extremely proud, and hopefully we can stack these (wins) up. This was a big week for us: At Meadville, Grove City and Slippery Rock. We did what we set out to do this week. We’re gonna come back Monday and work hard. We’ve got Sharon (Tuesday night), and it doesn’t matter what the records are, we know we’re gonna get their best punch and we’re gonna have to be ready.”


Also Friday:


• West Middlesex 57, Reynolds 25 – At West Middlesex, the Big Reds followed up Thursday’s thrilling overtime win at Mercer with a Region 1 victory over the Raiders.

WM led 23-7 at half and really pulled away in the 3rd quarter by outscoring the Raiders 22-12.

Tanner Shick drained a trio of treys en route to 16 points for WM (4-2, 7-5), Richie Preston bucketed 13, and Gio Rococi added 9 points.

Andrew McCloskey led Reynolds (0-6, 3-8) with 7 points while Haydin McLaughlin, PJ Winkle, and Ashton Small chipped in 4 points each.

• Garfield 57, Brookfield 38 – At Garrettsville, the G-Men picked up a Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference (MVAC) Grey Tier Division win against the Warriors (2-4, 4-6) on Friday.

Garfield led 14-11 at the end of the opening quarter and 32-22 at halftime. The G-Men outscored the Warriors 25-16 in the 2nd half.

Anthony Demma (15 points), Eric Geddes (11), and Kaidan Spade (10) scored in double digits for Garfield.

Isaiah Jones scored a game-high 18 points for Brookfield and grabbed 12 rebounds for another double-double. Also, Donovan Pawlowski added 12 points and 4 steals, and TJ Laverty dished out 4 assists.


SLIPP. ROCK      3   9   12   9  33

HICKORY         12  19  14  17  62

SLIPPERY ROCK – Sabo 0-1-2-1, Gordon 6-0-0-14, Thompson 2-3-4-8, Wolak 1-0-1-2, Pyle 1-0-0-3, Prementine 1-2-4-5, Stabryla 0-0-0-0, Allen 0-0-0-0, Parson 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Gordon 2, Prementine 1, Thompson 1, Pyle 1. Totals: 11-6-11-33. 

HICKORY – Mele 0-0-0-0, Pryts 8-3-5-19, Fazzone 4-0-0-8, Enoch 5-1-3-15, Djakovich 4-0-0-12, Swanson 2-0-0-4, Daniels 0-2-2-2, C.Evangelista 0-0-0-0, Stephens 0-0-0-0, R.Evangelista 0-2-2-2, Bean 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Enoch 4, Djakovich 4. Totals: 23-8-12-62.

JV: Hickory, 45-27. Landon Bean 11 points for Hickory.


REYNOLDS       4    3   12   6  25

W.MIDDLESEX  10  13  22  12  57

REYNOLDS – McLaughlin 2-0-0-4, Minjarez 0-0-0-0, Winkle 1-2-2-4, McCloskey 2-2-2-7, Obenrader 0-1-1-1, Small 1-2-2-4, Williams 0-1-2-1, Geiwitz 0-2-3-2, N.Miller 0-2-4-2. 3-pt. goal: McCloskey 1. Totals: 6-12-16-25.

WEST MIDDLESEX – Sweitzer 1-1-1-3, Rococi 4-1-2-9, Mild 2-1-2-5, Knight 1-0-0-2, Stover 2-0-0-4, Shick 6-1-1-16, Bender 0-0-0-0, Partridge 1-0-0-3, Preston 5-3-4-13, Shrawder 1-0-0-2. 3-pt. goals: Shick 3, Partridge 1. Totals: 23-7-10-57.

JV: No score reported.


BROOKFIELD     11  11  9    7   38

GARFIELD        14  18  10  15  57

BROOKFIELD – Jones 6-5-8-18, Craig 1-0-0-2, Laverty 2-0-0-4, Do.Pawlowski 5-0-0-12, Hoffman 0-0-0-0, Solida 1-0-0-2. 3-pt. goals: Do.Pawlowski 2, Jones 1. Totals: 15-5-8-38.

GARFIELD – Grandizio 0-0-0-0, Spade 3-1-2-10, Janic 1-0-0-3, Geddes 4-0-1-11, Demma 7-1-2-15, Lysiak 3-2-2-8, Sommer 0-1-2-1, Bates 1-2-2-4, Swigonski 2-1-2-5. 3-pt. goals: Spade 3, Geddes 3, Janic 1. Totals: 21-8-13-57.

JV: No score reported.

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