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Karns City Holds Off Port Allegany; Ridgway Scratches Out Narrow Victory Over Redbank

KARNS CITY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — As Karns City’s offense struggled in the first half, the Gremlins had to turn to their defense.

It was a constant. They needed it.

Karns City finally shook off the doldrums in the third quarter, outscoring visiting Port Allegany, 14-3, as part of a 20-3 run, and held off a Gator fourth-quarter rally in a 46-36 win in the first round of the District 9 Class 2A playoffs on Wednesday night.

(Pictured above, Karns City’s Taite Beighley)

“We played good defense throughout the game, but we were timid on offense,” said Karns City coach Zach Kepple. “We did a better job in the second half of taking care of the ball and attacking the basket and that was the difference in the second half.”

The difference in the first half was he Gremlins’ defense, which held Port Allegany to just four points in the first quarter and 14 over the course of the first 16 minutes.

Good thing. Karns City could only muster 19 first-half points itself.

Taite Beighley, who scored a team-high 18 points, was the go-to guy early. The junior point guard scored 10 of the 19 Gremlin points in the opening two quarters.

Hobie Bartoe shined in the third as Karns City was able to shoot out to a 33-17 advantage.

Bartoe, who finished with 13 points, scored eight in the frame.

“It was good to get back into the win column and the big second half was vital for us going into the next game,” Kepple said.

Port Allegany did give the Gremlins a scare.

After Karns City increased its lead to 39-17, Drew Evens hit four of his six 3-pointers in the game as the Gators quickly closed the gap.

Evens finished with a game-high 20 points.

Port hit five of its eight 3-pointers in the final quarter.

“Most came with less than four minutes to go in the game,” Kepple said.

The Gators (13-8) could only get as close as 10, which was the final victory margin.

Beighley and Bartoe each handed out five assists. Micah Rupp had eight rebounds and four steals to go with his six points and Beighley and Braden Grossman each had four steals for Karns City.

The Gremlins (21-4) will meet a familiar foe in the semifinals on March 1 at a site and time to be determined.

Karns City will take on Clarion-Limestone for the fourth time. The Gremlins won one of the previous three meetings, but lost to C-L, 51-46, in the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference championship game last week.

“The whole team is looking forward to playing C-L again,” Kepple said. “They are a good team and we are expecting another close game that comes down to the final minutes of the game.”


Eric Gustafson hit a layup with seven seconds left to lift the Elkers to the two-point win over the Bulldogs in the opening round of the District 9 Class 2A playoffs on Wednesday night.

As usual a Ridgway game was an offensive grind.

The Elkers led 14-11 after the first quarter — a veritable offensive explosion for a team averaging a shade fewer than 40 points per game this season — and were up 20-19 at the half.

Redbank Valley (11-12), which started the season 2-8 before going on a victory run and have been playing without head coach Emmanuel Marshall, who was involved in an automobile accident on Feb. 8, took a 30-28 lead to the fourth quarter and were up 32-29 early in the fourth.

Ridgway (17-7), though, tied the game at 33-33 and took advantage of a Bulldog turnover with less than a minute remaining to set up the game-winner.

Alex Merritt paced the Elkers with 16 points. Aaron Sorg, who had the assist on Gustafson’s winning layup, added nine.

Redbank was led by Mason Clouse, Braylon Wagner and Breckin Minich, who each scored seven points.

Ridgway will play the winner of the Otto-Eldred vs. Curwensville game, which was postponed to Thursday night because of the weather.

Ridgway’s semifinal clash against either Otto-Eldred or Curwensville will be played March 1 at a site and time to be determined.