Oiler Fall to Neshannock in First Round Nailbiter

| March 12, 2023

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – The opening round of the PIAA basketball playoffs between Oil City and Neshannock had the makings of a blowout.

(Article and photos courtesy Eight & 322)

Oil City jumped into the lead and looked like they were in command right up until about the three-minute mark of the third quarter when their 15-point lead began to be slowly eroded by the Lancers and their top scorer Jack Giles.

At the end of the third the Oilers still held an 11-point lead. Then Giles and company got really aggressive full court pressing, stealing and getting easy buckets to pull within shooting distance. Right around the two-minute mark Neshannock took their first lead of the evening and they didn’t relinquish it.

Giles had a monster game pouring in 31 including the last seven points to keep his team just enough out of reach that even a Connor Highfield three with four seconds left wasn’t quite enough. A very quick foul sent Giles to the line where he sank one of two. On the rebound the Oilers had one more frantic shot, but the highly contested Cam VanWormer three missed the mark.

Neshannock won 61-59.

Earlier in the game it seemed Oil City had the answers. Cam Van Wormer’s team high 18 points were supplemented by an incredibly even attack with Jacob Hornbeck pouring in 13, while Highfield had 10 and Ethen Knox and Sayyid Donald both contributed nine each.

The Oilers solid season came to an end with a 19-7 record.

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