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.
[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/si2vF1mvqFA” width=”400″]
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.