CLARION, Pa. – Three of the four District 9 boys’ basketball teams in action in the PIAA playoffs picked up wins Saturday.
(Clarion’s Hunter Craddock defends against Winchester Thurston’s Igor Karusewicz late in Saturday’s win. Photo by Mary Rearick)
In Class 2A, Ridgway and Clarion both came out with victories, while in Class 3A Brookville was a winner.
Coudersport was the only team not to get a “W” falling in a close battle against Farrell.
Full coverage of District 9 teams in the basketball postseason can be found here.
RIDGWAY 57, SHENANGO 49
CLARION, Pa. – Ridgway used a game-ending 16-3 run to pick up a 57-49 win over Shenango in the opening round of the PIAA Class 2A boys’ basketball playoffs at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym.
“It’s always fun this time of year,” Ridgway head coach Tony Allegretto said. “You know, we’ve been fortunate to pull out these types of games. You know, we’re used to big games. We’re used to being under tight situations. You know and that’s the way we play. We’re proud.”
The District 9 champion Elkers, who led 28-22 at halftime, found themselves trailing 46-41 after Case Butchelle hit a 3-pointer for Shenango just over two minutes into the fourth quarter.
But Ridgway scored 14 of the next 15 points to take control of the game with four different Elkers scoring during the run.
Back-to-back baskets by Dan Park tied the game at 47 with 3:44 to go, and Zack Zameroski hit one of two free throws with 2:42 to go to give the Elkers the lead, 48-47.
“We don’t crack under pressure,” senior Matt Dush said. “We are used to being down. We have come back before. They took the lead away from us, but we knew if we kept fighting we would have a chance at the end.”
Alex Bon then hit two free throws, and Domenic Allegretto connected on three of four charity shots to put Ridgway ahead 53-49 with 44.7 seconds to play.
Two more free throws by Zack Zameroski made it 55-49 before Ryan Lenhart scored with 14 seconds to play, the first Shenango basket since the Butchelle 3-pointer, to make it a four-point game. But Dush got loose on a fastbreak to put the nail in the coffin.
“It is great for the Ridgway community,” Dush said. “We knew we were at 19 wins (going into the game), so getting 20 wins is a big deal. It is a big deal to Ridgway, 20 wins. But we have more to prove here.”
Watch Dush’s full postgame interview
Park also played a key role in helping Ridgway go into the fourth quarter tied at 40 by scoring seven points in the third quarter all in a row after the Elkers got down 34-31.
“We saw that they ran that press,” Allegretto said. “We had several practices, and that’s what we practiced the most was attacking that press, getting it into the middle. We told Dan, you’re going to have a lot of opportunities, and he finished.”
Park and Dush led Ridgway with 19 points each with Zack Zameroski adding 10 and Allegretto chipping in seven.
Colin McQuiston powered Shenango with a game-high 21 points, including 11 in the third quarter when he helped the Wildcats overcome the six-point halftime deficit.
Ridgway will take on Farrell in the second round of the PIAA Playoffs Wednesday, March 11, at a site and time to be announced. The Steelers topped Coudersport, 69-64, Saturday.
CLARION 49, WINCHESTER THURSTON 44
KNOX, Pa. – Using strong free-throw shooting, especially in the fourth quarter, Clarion won its first PIAA playoff game in 17 years with a 49-44 victory over Winchester Thurston in the opening round of the PIAA Class 2A boys’ bracket at Keystone High School.
The Bobcats, the District 9 runner-up, who hadn’t won a PIAA game since winning one in Class 1A in 2003, led by four, 34-30, going to the fourth quarter and were able to maintain that advantage thanks to an 11 of 13 performance from the charity stripe in the final eight minutes.
Relisten to the game:
“I’m very proud of the kids making it to the second round in states,” Clarion first-year head coach Scott Fox said. “I’m excited for them to get to experience the atmosphere and compete in the state playoffs.
“I’m happy they stepped up to the challenge today and answered Winchester Thurston’s runs each time they happened. I’m proud of these guys.”
Cal German led the charge at the charity stripe going 9 of 10 for the game, including a perfect 6 of 6 in the fourth quarter. German led all scorers with 21 points.
Josh Craig (2 of 2), Hunter Craddock (2 of 3) and Nick Frederick (1 of 2) also hit free throws in the fourth quarter for the Bobcats.
Craddock added seven points with Craig, Frederick and Skylar Rhoades each adding five tallies.
Clarion jumped out to an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter with German scoring four points and Craig hitting a 3-pointers.
The Bobcats then expanded the lead to 18-13 at halftime thanks to three points, all from the line, from Rhoades.
German helped Clarion maintain the advantage in the third quarter hitting a pair of 3-pointers and scoring nine points in the quarter.
That helped offset a big third quarter from Langston Moses who scored nine of his team-high 19 points in the third quarter.
Jackson Juzang added 16 points for the Bears, including 11 in the second half.
Clarion will face District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle, a 59-33 winner over Brentwood, in the second round Wednesday, March 11, at a site and time to be announced.
Clarion postseason information is brought to you by: Delta Contracting & Design/Ace Concrete & Excavating • Burford & Henry Real Estate Services • Tin Town Metal Works • State Representative Donna Oberlander (Paid for by Friends of Donna Oberlander) • Clarion Boys’ Basketball Boosters • Clarion Girls’ Basketball Boosters • Hunter Station Golf Club and Restaurant
BROOKVILLE 49, NESHANNOCK 34
CLARION, Pa. – Brookville used a 13-0 fourth-quarter run to turn a three-point lead into a 15-point, 49-34, win in the opening round of the PIAA Class 3A boys’ basketball playoffs at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym.
“It feels great to win a PIAA playoff game,” senior Aaron Park said. “At the beginning of the year, we knew we had a great team coming back from last year. We lost one good player in Trenton, but we knew we had the rest of the team there. That was the goal since the beginning of the year, to win a state game. It’s been a while since Brookville has done that.”
A while is an understatement.
Try 23 years.
The Raiders’ last PIAA victory came in 1997, the only PIAA victory in school boys’ basketball history until Saturday night.
“I’m pretty proud of these guys right now,” Brookville head coach Dalton Park, Aaron’s dad, said. “It was a very special win. These guys, they play hard the whole time. It took us a little bit to get going this year, but once we got going, hopefully, it takes a lot to stop us.”
Brookville led by just three, 31-28, following a 3-pointer from Neshannock’s Johnpaul Mozzocio with 5:52 to play.
But that was the last points the Lancers scored until 1:44 was left in the game when Preston Turk hit a pair of free throws.
By that time, Brookville led 44-28 thanks to five points from Jace Miner and four from Aaron Park.
“Honestly, I don’ think there was much of a difference other than our shots started falling,” Aaron Park said. “The whole game we preach defense. Defense leads into offense. It brings us energy. We kept playing the defense the whole game. Our shots were going in and out. We knew if we kept playing that defense, they would start falling. They started falling, and that’s when we grabbed the momentum and never looked back.”
Park got the run started with back-to-back baskets at 5:20 and then 4:36.
“We actually wanted to start looking inside,” Dalton Park said. “We had a couple of easy shots inside. I think once we got those, it clamped and opened things up on the outside.
Brookville, as it has done so many times this season, won with defense limiting Neshannock to 13 of 48 from the floor and 3 of 24 from beyond the arc.
“We just work together as a whole five,” Aaron Park said. “When we work together, we are pretty tough on D.”
Watch Aaron Park’s full postgame interview
The Raiders led wire-to-wire after starting the game up 10-2, but things got dicey in the second quarter for Brookville when it only scored three points.
“I was upset because I was worried,” Dalton Park said. “They were coming back, and we were sitting still. The offense just disappeared on us. Luckily, the defense was there all night.”
Good thing for the Raiders, Neshannock only managed three points of its own helping Brookville take a 17-13 halftime lead after Robert Keth hit three free throws with 3.1 seconds left in the half after being fouled taking a 3-pointer.
“That got us momentum going into the second half,” Dalton Park said. “The doubts went away.”
Keth paced Brookville with 19 points, while Miner added 12 and Park 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Turk led Neshannock with 13 points while Mozzocio added 10.
Neshannock was without 6-foo-4 junior Spencer Perry, who missed the game with an injury. The Lancers seemed to miss his 11 points per game.
Brookville will face WPIAL runner-up Lincoln Park, a 67-59 winner over Penns Valley, in the second round Wednesday, March 11, at a site and time to be announced.
Brookville postseason information is brought to you by: Fran Morelli Sales & Service • Lezzer Lumber • Hunter Station Golf Club and Restaurant • Mike’s Supermarket in Brookville • Jefferson Animal Clinic • Matson Insurance
FARRELL 69, COUDERSPORT 64
SHARON, Pa. – Eric Hopson and Brian Hilton combined to score 13 fourth-quarter points, as Farrell rallied to beat Coudersport, 69-64, in the PIAA Class 2A first round at Sharon High School.
The Falcons, the third-place team out of District 9, led 51-50 going to the fourth quarter but were outscored in the final eight minutes, 19-13.
Hopson scored seven of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter with HIlton adding six of his 17.
Ben King added 11 points in the win for the Steelers.
Kolby VanWhy knocked down five 3-pointers and scored 21 points to lead Coudersport with Hayden Keck adding 15 points, but none in the second half. Dillon Keglovits chipped in 11 tallies, and Travis Gleason had 10 points.
Farrell will play Ridgway in the second round Wednesday, March 11, at a site and time to be announced.
Coudersport postseason information is brought to you by: Team Minard • Potter County Family Campground • Close’s Lumber Company • Kaytee’s Family Restaurant in Coudersport • Rhonda Ramsey Hair Salon in Emporium • E& G Auto Plus, Inc. in Coudersport
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Lezzer Lumber • Delta Contracting & Design/Ace Concrete & Excavating • Team Minard • Fran Morelli Sales & Service • Burford & Henry Real Estate Services • Potter County Family Campground • Close’s Lumber Company • Tin Town Metal Works • State Representative Donna Oberlander (Paid for by Friends of Donna Oberlander) • 120 Pub and Grub in Clearfield • Campbell Bus Lines • Hunter Station Golf Club and Restaurant