Note: This article originally appeared in the Mirror on Saturday, March 17, 1990.
By Michael V. Emery
Mirror Sports Staff
NORTH VERSAILLES — Tyrone called on Craig Fleming one more time Friday night and one more time Fleming answered the call.
Fleming drilled a 3-point basket with five seconds left in Tyrone’s PIAA Class AA first-round playoff game against Seton LaSalle to life the Golden Eagles to a dramatic 51-48 victory.
The shot highlighted Fleming’s 20-point performance which helped him eclipse the 1,000-career-point plateau.
“What can you say, Fleming is a great player. He’s just clutch,’’ Tyrone Coach Paul Hasson said.
Fleming’s 3-pointer came from the top of the circle with Seton LaSalle holding a 48-46 lead. Fleming was the man designed to take the shot, but the 3-pointer was an impromptu variation of the play Hasson wanted.
“I was supposed to get the ball on the wing and go one-on-one, but I had to come out higher to get the ball and there wasn’t enough time to run the play we designed,’’ Fleming said. “In the huddle, we designed the play for the tie, but I wanted the three. It felt like it was good from the time it left my hand.’’
Tyrone, which now advances to play Perry of the Pittsburgh City League in the next round of the playoffs, added two free throws to seal the game in the final three seconds.
But Tyrone nearly blew an eight-point lead in the final three minutes.
Marty DeVine made a 3-pointer with 2:33 left to cut Tyrone’s lead to 44-39. After the teams traded baskets, DeVine scored an old-fashioned 3-pointer, sneaking into the lane for a bucket and adding a free throw to pull the Rebels within two (46-44) at the 1:07 mark.
Mark Bernotas tied the score at 46 with one minute remaining following a steal.
Another Tyrone turnover led to Seton LaSalle’s go-ahead basket with DeVine scoring a layup with :32 left.
“We got rattled by their pressure, as we did earlier in the game,’’ Hasson said. “But we got a timeout and were able to set up the winning shot.’’
Fleming led Tyrone with 20 points, while Jonathon Light added 15 and Nate Newlin 10.
“Light hit some key shots,’’ Hasson said. “We ran our motion offense. With that, we can either hold the ball or get some backdoors and Light was able to shake loose for some big baskets.’’
Seton LaSalle took charge early, racing to a 20-11 lead in the second quarter. Two quick Seton LaSalle baskets to start the second quarter led to a Tyrone timeout and a change in momentum in the Eagles’ favor.
“The pace was just too fast for us,’’ Hasson said. “They are a fast-paced team and we realized that if it stayed like that the game would be over by halftime. At the timeout we regrouped our offense and got back in it.’’
Seton LaSalle’s lead was cut to 24-23 at halftime and Tyrone took its first lead on its first shot of the second half, a two-pointer by Light.
Tyrone held Seton LaSalle to seven points in the third quarter.
“Our defense was excellent all night, especially in the third quarter,’’ Hasson said. “We held them to seven points in the quarter; that’s a great job.’’
Seton LaSalle mounted a valiant fourth-quarter comeback, but saw its efforts thwarted by Fleming.
“We can’t figure out why weren’t that intense the whole game,’’ Seton LaSalle Coach John Lee said of the Rebels’ fourth-quarter comeback. “If we would have, they would have been playing catch-up instead of us.’’
GAME NOTES: Fleming now had 1,009 career points ... DeVine led Seton LaSalle with 12 points and Bernotas added 10 ... Perry advanced to meet Tyrone by beating Beaver Falls 59-51.
TYRONE (51): Fleming 4 10-10 20, Light 7 1-5 15, Newlin 4 2-4 10, Sangrey 0 0-0 0, Elder 0 2-2 2, Sloey 0 0-0 0, Harpster 0 4-4 4, R. Stewart 0 0-0 0, S. Stewart 0 0-0 0. Totals — 15 19-25 51.
SETON LASALLE (48): Bernotas 4 2-6 10, DeVine 4 3-3 12, Panyeci 0 0-0 0, Dunn 3 0-0 6, Wallace 1 6-6 8, Musczynski 0 0-1 0, Barrett 0 0-0 0, McGinley 2 0-0 5, Tomczyk 3 0-1 7, Trainor 0 0-0 0. Totals — 17 11-17 48.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tyrone 11 12 11 17 — 51
Seton LaSalle 15 9 7 17 — 48
3-point goals: Tyrone 2 (Fleming 2); Seton LaSalle 3 (DeVine, Tomczyk, McGinley).