New Ken’s rally comes up short against Penn State Beaver

Jahi Ogbonna shoots.
Jahi Ogbonna shoots.

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. -  A first-half deficit proved too much to overcome for Penn State New Kensington on Tuesday, as it dropped a home contest against Penn State Beaver, 64-51. The game marked the opener in Penn State University Athletic Conference play for both squads, as New Ken fell to 0-4 overall, while Beaver improved to 1-1 on the season.

Although a three-pointer by Tavarski Wardlow (Round Rock, Tx/Hendrickson) staked New Kensington to a 3-2 lead in the opening moments, Beaver quickly gained command, using a 19-2 run. Jeremy Redwine was instrumental in Beaver's success, as he compiled 16 points and seven boards in the first half. Freshman Bernard Lawson (Pittsburgh, Pa/Serra Catholic) scored five points late in the period to keep New Kensington within striking distance, but Beaver took a 34-20 advantage into the locker room.

That cushion proved the difference, as New Kensington outscored Beaver 31-30 in the second half. However, host New Ken never seriously threatened, as it was unable to trim the deficit to single digits. Lawson continued his strong play in the second half, as he connected on all of his attempts (three shots from the field, two shots at the foul line) for eight points in the half, while Jahi Ogbonna (Pittsburgh, Pa/Allderdice) notched 10 points after the intermission.

While the New Ken offense found its groove in the second half, the defense failed to consistently get stops, as Beaver shot nearly 58 percent from the field in the stanza.

Lawson and Ogbonna tied for a team-high with 14 points apiece, while Ogbonna also led the team with seven rebounds. Wardlow provided a team-leading four steals, while Hasaan Ismaeli (Pittsburgh, Pa/Nazareth Prep) dished out four assists. New Kensington played without leading scorer Jamison Nee (Natrona Heights, Pa/Highlands).

Redwine recorded a double-double for Beaver, with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Keon Butler chipped in with 17 points, and John Foster produced 15 points and nine boards.

New Kensington returns to action on Friday, hosting Penn State York at 8 p.m., while Beaver returns home to welcome Penn State Scranton, also on Friday at 8 p.m.'

Written by: Sean Meyers