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Lawal, Kallay, Luketa Help Erie First Christian End Karns City Boys’ Season

CLARION, Pa. – Samuel Lawal and Jesse Luketa each recorded double-doubles and Hunter Kallay had a game-high 23 points to lead Erie First Christian to a 57-48 win over Karns City in the opening round of the PIAA Class 3A boys’ basketball playoffs Friday night at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym.

(Cover photo of Samuel Lawal (right) and Hunter Kallay of Erie First Christian)

The 6-foot-7 Lawal had 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Luketa, a junior who has verbally committed to Penn State to play football, added 10 points and 13 rebounds.

But it was Kallay, the son of head coach Bradford Kallay, who set the tone for the Eagles (17-9), the third-place team out of District 10, scoring nine of his 23 points in the first quarter as Erie First Christian built an 18-5 win after one.

Kallay and Lawal talked about the win.

Erie First Christian got the lead to 15, 20-5, early in the second quarter before District 9 champion Karns City (17-8) got hot from the outside and clawed its way back into the game on the strength of five second-quarter 3-pointers, including four from Noah Pollock.

Pollock’s third consecutive three and his fourth of the quarter with 3:08 left in the second capped a 17-5 Gremlins run that cut the Eagles lead to three, 25-22.

Erie First Christian still led by five, 29-24, at halftime despite the 12 points from Pollock, who finished with 18 including 15 on five 3-pointers.

Karns City’s outside game slowed down in the third quarter with the Gremlins only hitting two – one by Pollock and one by Ian McElroy, who had a team-high 21 points while hitting four threes – but Karns City still trailed by just four, 38-34, going to the fourth quarter.

But any hopes of a comeback faded away in the first two minutes when three Gremlins turnovers led to six straight Erie First Christian points that put the Eagles up 10, 44-34, with 6:07 left.

Karns City didn’t give up and got back within six, 52-46, when McElroy hit a 3-pointer with 37.2 to play.

The Eagles hit 5 of 6 free throws in the final 35.2, however, to secure the win.

Erie First Christian meets WPIAL third-place finisher Washington, a 52-45 winner over Richland, in the second round Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.

ERIE FIRST CHRISTIAN 57, KARNS CITY 48

Score by Quarters

EFC 18 11 9 19 – 57
KC 5 19 10 14 – 48

ERIE FIRST CHRISTIAN – 57

Andrew Montefiori 0 0-0 0, Jesse Luketa 3 4-9 10, Ren Rivers 0 0-0 0, Zam Chew 2 4-7 8, Joel Hess 0 0-0 0, Samuel Lawal 8 0-2 16, Hunter Kallay 7 8-10 23, Jeremy Montefiori 0 0-0 0, Kaleb Bratt 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 16-28 57.

KARNS CITY – 48

Jacob Friel 2 0-0 4, Ian McElroy 8 1-2 21, Noah Pollock 5 3-4 18, Noah Kepple 0 0-0 0, Chandler Turners 1 0-0 3, Eric Dodd 0 0-3 0, Jimmy Thompson 0 0-0 0, Nolan Riley 0 2-2 2. Totals 16 6-11 48.

Three-pointers: Erie First Christian 1 (Kallay). Karns City 10 (Pollock 5, McElroy 4, Turner).



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