ST. MARYS, Pa. – Dan Stauffer’s tip in as time expired lifted Elk County Catholic to its second straight AML title with a 43-41 win over Ridgway in the AML Championship game at St. Marys High School Saturday night.
Video courtesy of Mason Valenti
It marked the second straight year the Crusaders downed the Elkers in the title game on a last-second shot. Last year, Nate DaCanal beat Ridgway with a putback off his own missed shot with 1.6 seconds left to give ECC a 47-46 win.
This season, the Crusaders (24-0) held a 41-37 lead with 2:52 to play only to watch Ridgway (21-3), whose three losses have all come to ECC, tie the game at 41 with under a minute to go.
ECC then called timeout with just a tick under 30 seconds to play and held for the last shot and the win.
The Crusaders controlled play early and held an 11-4 lead at the end of the first quarter after a 9-2 run to end the first quarter.
But Ridgway used a run of its own, a 10-4 spurt to close out the first half, to get within two, 22-20 at halftime.
From there, the game remained tight the rest of the way with ECC leading by three, 35-32, after three.
DaCanal again played a big role in the ECC victory scoring a game-high 15 points. Gabe Kraus added 13 points and Stauffer eight.
Andy Breier paced Ridgway with 12 points. Aaron Shilk, who hit three third-quarter 3-pointers, added 11 and Jeremy Breier chipped in with nine.
The teams are the top two seeds in the District 9 Class A playoffs.
ECC is the top seed and will face the winner of the Otto-Eldred/DuBois Central Catholic nine-eight matchup.
Ridgway is the second seed and will play the winner of the 10-7 game between Cameron County and Oswayo Valley.