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Quick Start Lifts ECC Boys to Second Straight D9 1A Title

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CLARION, Pa. – Elk County Catholic wasted little time locking up its second straight District 9 Class 1A championship with a 62-44 win over Johnsonburg Saturday afternoon at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym.

(Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

The top-seeded and unbeaten Crusaders led 21-6 after a quarter and 37-18 at halftime while picking up their fourth win of the year over the seventh-seeded Rams.

“I thought it was really important,” ECC head coach Aaron Straub said of the fast start. “They are a good team. I don’t know if anyone played a tougher schedule than them. Their record is deceiving.”

What wasn’t deceiving was the way ECC shared the basketball in picking up the championship.

Seven different Crusaders scored, and the team assisted on at least 13 of its 26 baskets.

“I was really disappointed with our movement Tuesday (in the semifinals),” Straub said. “There was not enough movement. I thought it was really important that we moved the ball and moved people today.”

Gabe Kraus and Nate DaCanal combined for 33 points led by 17 from Kraus with DaCanal chipping in with 16 points, seven rebounds and at least four assists.

Dan Stauffer and Logan Hoffman both chipped in with seven points.

Stauffer talked about the win.

Any thought of a Johnsonburg comeback never materialized when Kraus hit a pair of 3-pointers and Brad Dippold added a triple to push the Crusaders lead to 26, 48-22, with 4:33 to go in the third quarter.

“All you have to do is reflect on the four years we weren’t able to win it,” Straub said of the back-to-back titles after a four-year title drought. “You can’t take championships for granted.

“What I was most proud of tonight was what I’ve been most proud of all year long. We’ve been a focused group. A group that puts team in front of self. We have set high goals and the only way we can reach them is by playing good team ball. We are continuing to do that.”

ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC 62, JOHNSONBURG 44

Score by Quarters

Johnsonburg 6 12 11 15 – 44
Elk Co. Cath. 21 16 18 7 – 62

JOHNSONBURG – 44

Kacey Raubenstrauch 2 0-0 5, Ryan Kilhoffer 6 0-0 14, Drew Akers 2 2-2 8, Tyler Singer 2 2-2 7, Jacob Sheldon 0 0-0 0, Trevor Lobaugh 1 0-0 2, Austin Green 1 1-2 4, Isaac Schloder 1 0-0 2, Ben Freeburg 1 0-0 2, Nick Bliss 0 0-0 0, Gavin Elmquist 0 0-0 0, Dilen Surra 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 5-6 44.

ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC – 62

Dan Stauffer 3 0-0 7, Nate DaCanal 7 1-1 16, Gabe Kraus 7 0-0 17, Ryan Newton 3 0-0 6, Brad Dippold 2 0-0 5, Jared Braun 2 0-0 4, Logan Hoffman 2 3-3 7, Frank Singer 0 0-0 0, Alex Breindel 0 0-0 0, Joe Aiello 0 0-0 0, Erick Mader 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 4-4 62.

Three-pointers: Johnsonburg 7 (Kilhoffer 2, Akers 2, Raubenstrauch, Singer, Green). ECC 6 (Kraus 3, DaCanal, Stauffer, Dippold).



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