BRADFORD, Pa. – A team that has made championship game appearances a regular occurrence will meet a team that hasn’t been there in over a decade in half in the District 9 Class 2A title game after Ridgway and Clarion won semifinal games Tuesday.
(Photo: Zack Zameroski goes up strong for a shot during Ridgway’s win over Coudersport Tuesday. Zameroski scored a game-high 16 points for Ridgway. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)
Third-seeded and defending champion Ridgway got defensive in a 39-29 win over to advance to the title game for the third straight year and fourth-seeded Clarion beat rival Keystone, 54-50, for the second straight time to reach the title game for the first time since 2003.
RIDGWAY 39, COUDERSPORT 29
BRADFORD, Pa. – Ridgway held top-seeded Coudersport without baskets in both the first and fourth quarters and rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to get a 39-29 win.
“That was our best defensive effort of the year,” Ridgway head coach Tony Allegretto told the Bradford Era of limiting District 9’s highest-scoring team (65.9 ppg) entering the game to a season-low 29 points. “I thought we would play good for a quarter here and there. But today we basically played three-and-half good quarters of defense.
The Elkers (18-7), who lost 50-39 at home to Coudersport in early January, trailed 24-13 in the third quarter after Coudersport (19-4) scored the first five points of the quarter, but got back within six, 24-18, by the end of the third thanks to five points from Zack Zameroski.
Zameroski then hit a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers, and Ridgway took advantage of a pair of technical fouls against Coudersport to pull away for the 10-point win.
A pair of Dillon Keglovits free throws put Coudersport up 26-21 with around seven minutes to play before Zameroski hit the first of his two fourth-quarter threes to make it 26-24.
Matt Dush followed with the game-tying basket, and then Dan Park put Ridgway ahead for good with a 3-pointer, 29-26.
Things then went sideways for Coudersport.
A hustle play by Travis Gleason, in which he stole the ball from Dominic Allegretto, ended up in Gleason getting called for a travel as he and Allegretto both scrambled for the ball around midcourt. When the players got up, Gleason pushed Allegretto back to the ground and was whistled for a technical foul.
While that was happening, Coudersport Scott Easton was also assessed a technical foul for leaving the coaches’ box trying to call a timeout.
Dush hit three of the four ensuing free throws to put Ridgway ahead six, 32-26, and the game was all but over the way Ridgway controls the tempo.
“I came out to ask for a timeout,” Eason told the Bradford Era. “I didn’t come 12 feet out onto the court. I was three feet out there. The (ref) deemed it. I don’t know – I am not throwing the officials under the bus – he just saw what he saw.
“It’s a pivotal part of the game. You give either one of these teams four points plus possession, that’s a big turning point in the game.”
Another turning point in the game was the Falcons inability to score.
Ridgway limited Coudersport to eight field goals with six of those, including four 3-pointers, coming in an 18-point second quarter for the Falcons.
The 18-point quarter came on the heels of one of the lowest-scoring quarters in District 9 this year, as Ridgway held a 6-1 lead after eight minutes.
But in the second quarter, Coudersport got hot from the outside with Kolby VanWhy and Hayden Keck each hitting a pair of 3-pointers and Gleason also scoring six points to give the Falcons a 19-13 halftime lead.
Zameroski led Ridgway with 16 points, Park added nine points and Dush eight.
Keck, who hit three 3-pointers, paced Coudersport with 11 points. Gleason added seven.
Ridgway postseason information Ridgway Medical Center
CLARION 54, KEYSTONE 50
NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Clarion is back in a District 9 boys’ basketball championship game for the first time in 17 years.
For the second time this season, the Bobcats (16-8) toppled rival Keystone (21-3) knocking off the top-seeded Panthers, 54-50, in the District 9 Class 2A semifinals Tuesday night at Redbank Valley High School.
Relisten to the game:
“It is very big,” Clarion’s first-year head coach Scott Fox said. “The kids worked their butts off to get to this point. I am glad we are giving them an opportunity to play for a District 9 championship.”
Clarion had to overcome a slow start for itself and a quick start from Keystone to advance to the title game for the first time since winning the District 9 Class 1A championship in 2003.
Keystone hit three first-quarter 3-pointers, including two from Isaak Jones, to take a 17-11 lead after a quarter of play.
But Clarion tightened up a bit defensively in the second quarter and outscored the Panthers 17-10 in the frame behind seven Nick Frederick points to take a 28-27 halftime lead.
Clarion was able to expand the lead to four points after the third quarter, 40-36, thanks in part to a pair of 3-pointers from Josh Craig, who had been in a shooting slump that dated back to January.
Craig, who was named the Hager Paving Player of the Game, kept up his hot outside shooting in the fourth quarter hitting two more 3-pointers to help keep Clarion out in front. He finished the night with 14 points, his highest-scoring game since netting 16 points Jan. 7 vs. Forest Area.
“The whole first half, they played a really tight man-to-man defense,” Craig said. “I couldn’t really break off anything. They went into that zone late in the third quarter. That is when the 3-pointers thrive. I was just floating down into the corner and getting open.”
Thanks to Craig and Frederick, who had a team-high 15 points, Clarion was able to work around leading scorer Cal German picking up three first-half fouls and being held to 13 points.
Andrew Lauer had a game-high 17 points for Keystone with Marc Rearick adding 13 points and Jones 12.
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Full coverage of District 9 teams in the basketball postseason can be found here.
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