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ECC Moves on to Boys’ 1A Quarters; Jburg Season Ends

By Scott Shindledecker and Rich Rhoades

HYDE, Pa. – It was sloppy and it was ragged at times, but the Elk County Catholic boys basketball team got what it wanted after a trip to Clearfield Area High School Thursday night in a 76-48 win over Williamsburg in the second round of the PIAA Class 1A playoffs.

(Cover photo of ECC’s Gabe Kraus. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

The Crusaders had a strong start over the Blue Pirates, led by senior guard Gabe Kraus, who scored 12 of his game-high 24 points in the first four minutes as ECC took a 16-4 lead.

“With the layoff, we knew we had to come out strong and I think we had a little bit of eagerness,” Krauss said. “We really wanted to get back at it and once the ball went up, we turned up the volume.”

Watch Kraus’ full interview.

The lead was 20-7 before Austin Fay hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 22-10.

Jared Braun had a good first quarter too, scoring six points.

ECC’s lead grew to as many as 23 points, 38-15, with 2:45 left in the first half on a 3-pointer by Nate DaCanal, who scored 23. DaCanal had 11 first-half points.

ECC also got eight points each from Ryan Newton, Dan Stauffer and Braun.

ECC (28-0) led 41-20 at the half.

ECC head coach Aaron Straub wasn’t pleased with how the game was played in the second half, but he was happy with his team’s defense in the first half.

“I thought we came in with a lot of energy and our defensive pressure was good in the first half and happy to get the win,” Straub said.

The Blue Pirates (16-11) were much more competitive in the third quarter as ECC outscored them by just a single point, 18-17.

ECC shot well from the free throw line, making 16 of 19 shots from the stripe.

Williamsburg coach Brock Anders received a technical foul in the third quarter with 5:29 left after one of his players was fouled and he turned to the Williamsburg fans and clapped and cheered.

Nick Mickelong led Williamsburg with 15 points. Rashadd Knorr scored eight while Silas Dishong and Andrew Rhoads each had seven.

ECC will play District 10 and defending PIAA champion Kennedy Catholic Saturday in the state quarterfinals. Kennedy beat Juniata Valley.

“We are looking forward to the challenge, the opportunity we have Saturday night,” Straub said. “We are going to embrace that opportunity and we are not going to blink.”

ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC 76, WILLIAMSBURG 48

Score by Quarters

Williamsburg 10 10 17 11 – 48
ECC 22 19 18 17 – 76

WILLIAMSBURG – 48

Knorr 3 2-2 8, Mickelone 4 5-6 15, Dishong 2 3-7 7, Fay 2 0-0 5, McMonagle 1 2-2 4, Rhoads 3 1-1 7, Bones 1 0-0 2, James 0 0-0 0, Hileman 0 0-0 0, Remes 0 0-2 0, Ward 0 0-2 0. Totals: 16 13-22 48.

ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC – 76

Nate DaCanal 9 4-4 23, Ryan Newton 3 1-2 8, Gabe Kraus 7 6-6 24, Dan Stauffer 3 2-2 8, Brad Dippold 2 0-0 4, Logan Hoffman 0 1-2 1, Jared Braun 3 2-2 8, Frank Singer 0 0-1 0, Alex Breindel 0 0-0 0, Joe Aiello 0 0-0 0, Erick Mader 0 0-2 0. Totals: 27 16-19 76.

Three-pointers: Williamsburg 3 (Mickelone 2, Fay); ECC 6 (Kraus 4, DaCanal, Newton).

SALTSBURG 85, JOHNSONBURG 38

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Riding the hot shooting of senior guards Nick Porter and Frank Plowman, the Saltsburg Trojans were too much to handle for the Johnsonburg Rams in their PIAA Class 1A second-round state playoff game Thursday night at Chuck Daly Memorial Gymnasium..

The two combined for a whopping 64 points in the Trojans’ 85-38 Mercy Rule rout of the Rams. Saltsburg, now 26-1, advances to play WPIAL champion Monessen Saturday at a site and time to be determined.

Porter and Plowman scored 35 and 29 points respectively. With his career-high scoring effort, Porter scored 25 points in the second half, including 17 in the third quarter that saw him hit five straight 3-pointers. He finished 11-for-23 from the field, including 7-for-10 from beyond the 3-point line. All of his bombs came in the second half.

Plowman finished with 29 points on 11-for-20 shooting. He scored 17 points in the first half and made five of his seven 3-pointers before halftime.

Rams head coach Bill Shuey could only shake his head afterward.

“I don’t think I’ve seen a high school team shoot that well (from three) in a long time,” said Shuey, whose team finished 13-14. “We went out on their shooters, but they shot lights-out. What are you going to do? We ran into a good team that was shooting a lot better that us tonight and the way we shot all year, that wasn’t really hard to do. We missed a lot of early ones that could’ve kept us closer, but I think the end result was going to be the same.”

Saltsburg wound up going 16-for-32 from the 3-point line and 30-for-70 from the field. The Trojans’ pressing defense forced 27 Rams turnovers.

The Rams actually led 6-0 to start the game, but after Ryan Kilhoffer finished an 8-3 run of his own to give the Rams an early 8-3 lead at the 3:59 mark, Johnsonburg didn’t score for the next 8:14 and at that point Saltsburg was up 27-10.

Kilhoffer played well in his final game for the Rams, finishing with 20 points and 15 rebounds despite playing just 34 seconds in the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul. He scored 15 of the Rams’ 20 points as Saltsburg led 36-20 at halftime.

But Saltsburg outscored the Rams, 28-8, in the third quarter and got to the PIAA’s Mercy Rule running clock mark with a 40-point lead at 71-30 near the 6:40 mark of the fourth quarter. Saltsburg didn’t pull its front-line players until 1:20 was left in the game.

No other Trojan reached double figures in scoring. Skylar Sphon scored eight points.

Shuey didn’t have two starters as senior Drew Akers (sick) and junior Tyler Singer (injury) were out of the lineup. Isaac Schloder scored nine points with six rebounds.

“I think for the younger kids to get this exposure at this level could only pay dividends down the road,” said Shuey.

SALTSBURG 85, JOHNSONBURG 38

Score By Quarters

Saltsburg 15 21 28 21 – 85
Johnsonburg 8 12 8 10 – 38

SALTSBURG – 85

Jordan Booth 0 0-0 0, Frank Plowman 11 0-0 29, Dan Shirley 3 0-0 6, Nick Porter 11 6-8 35, Jake Roman 1 0-0 2, DeShawn Wofford 2 0-2 5, Skylar Sphon 2 3-5 8, Derek Feiling 0 0-0 0, John Calandrella 0 0-0 0, Matt Grimplin 0 0-0 0, Dylian Palmer 0 0-0 0, Tiler Hopkins 0 0-0 0, Tyler Roman 0 0-0 0. Totals: 30 9-15 85.

JOHNSONBURG – 38

Ryan Kilhoffer 8 2-2 20, Jake Sheldon 2 0-2 4, Isaac Schloder 4 0-1 9, Kacey Raubenstrauch 0 0-0 0, Ben Freeburg 0 0-0 0, Trevor Lobaugh 0 0-0 0, Nick Bliss 2 0-0 4, Austin Green 0 0-0 0, Gavin Elmquist 0 0-0 0, Logan Notarianni 0 0-0 0, Dilen Surra 0 1-2 1, Colby Hefright 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 3-9 38.

Three-pointers: Saltsburg 16 (Plowman 7, Porter 7, Wofford, Sphon), Johnsonburg 3 (Kilhoffer 2, Schloder).



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