WOLVERINES WIN PAC CHAMPIONSHIP
Grove City 69, Bethany 67
February 23, 1999--Freshman Justin Sheppard's (Pittsburgh, PA/North Hills) reverse layup with three seconds left in regulation gave Grove City a 69-67 win at Bethany and its first Presidents' Athletic Conference title since 1990-91.
Grove City rallied from 14-point deficit (53-39) at the eleven-minute mark of the second half, outscoring the Bison 30-14 the rest of the way. A loss would have forced a tiebreaker-playoff game against Waynesburg to decide the PAC champion.
The Wolverines regained the lead with three minutes remaining after Brent Steineman's (Pickerington, OH/Wadsworth) blocked shot resulted in a three-point bucket by David Stiansen (Telford, PA/Souderton), giving Grove City a 62-61 edge. Steineman then stole the ball back from the Bison and raced the length of the court to put the Wolverines ahead by three, 64-61. Bethany's Todd McGuinness converted one of two from the free-throw line before Shane Meling (Slippery Rock, PA/Slippery Rock) drilled a 12-footer to give the Wolverines a 66-62 lead. Meling's ensuing block of a Bison shot resulted in Steineman making the back end of a two-shot foul, opening the margin to 67-62 with one minute left. Bethany cut the deficit to three when Zach Graebe drilled two free throws with 43 ticks showing and tied the game 67-67 on Keith Schubert's three-pointer at 0:16.
Steineman finished with a team-high 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting and added four
rebounds and two assists. Meling contributed 12 points, all in the second half, and
grabbed five boards. Sheppard's game-winner gave him 10 points to go with five
caroms. Michael Cratsley (Temecula, CA/Temecula Valley) and Dave Pifer (Sarver,
PA/Freeport) also tallied 10 points apiece. Stiansen chipped in with eight points
and four assists, including the game-winning dish to Sheppard.
Bethany was led by Jimmy Sperlazza's 26 points, including a 10-for-10 effort from the free-throw line.
Grove City, who led 25-24 at halftime, outshot the Bison 52% (26-50) to 35% (19-54).
The Wolverines, led by first-year head coach Steve Lamie, closed the regular season
16-8 overall and 7-1 in the PAC, following a 9-13, 5-5 campaign. The championship
marked their fourth overall and first since winning three straight in 1988-89, 1989-90 and
1990-91. GCC now awaits a possible bid to the ECAC championship playoffs.
Bethany fell to 5-18, 2-6 in the PAC.
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