New Castle News

April 19, 2013

High School Basketball: Meet the Section 2-AA boys all-stars

Joe Sager
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Neshannock High boys basketball team had the pieces, but it was a matter of putting it all together.

In the regular season, the Lancers were able to do exactly that. They won 10 of their first 11 games, but finished second (9-5) in the WPIAL Section 2-AA race to power Beaver Falls, which claimed WPIAL and PIAA gold.

Once again, Ernie Burkes proved to be a catalyst for Neshannock. The junior guard earned all-section first-team honors. Beaver Falls standouts Drew Cook and Elijah Cottrill joined him on the first team as did Riverside’s Gig Jewell and Tyler Falk.

Burkes won his second-straight Lawrence County scoring title, too. He averaged 21.1 points per game and netted 49 3-pointers. He surpassed the 1,000-point mark and has 1,108 for his career, which ranks seventh in program history.

“We’ve been accustomed to Ernie being able to put big numbers up,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “Breaking the 1,000-point mark this early in his career is a great tribute to him. The fact he is coming back next year for his senior year is great. Overall, as a player, we’re going to expect greater things from him next year.”

However, Neshannock (17-6 overall) couldn’t find the same team success in the postseason as Apollo-Ridge upset the Lancers, 66-64, in the WPIAL preliminary round.

“We knew we had a young group, but also a pretty talented group, Regular season-wise, I thought we did OK. Playoffs were a very disappointing effort bowing out after one game,” Corey said. “The encouraging thing is we return our top seven next year, so the future is bright. If we put in our time in the offseason, that can be very positive for us.”

Section 2-AA All-Stars

First Team

Drew Cook, Beaver Falls, Sr.

Elijah Cottrill, Beaver Falls, Jr.

Ernie Burkes, Neshannock, Jr.

Gig Jewell, Riverside, Sr.

Tyler Falk, Riverside, Sr.