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Taite Beighley Scores 21 to Lead Four Karns City Players in Double Figures as Gremlins Win KSAC Tourney Title

CLARION, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Karns City made little doubt there wouldn’t be a repeat of last year when Clarion-Limestone knocked off the Gremlins for the KSAC title.

This year the Gremlins never trailed in taking down the Lions, 64-48, on Saturday evening at Tippin Gym on the campus of PennWest Clarion University.

(Pictured above, Karns City’s Taitle Beighley was named the ExploreClarion KSAC Tournament Boys Championship Player of the Game)

Four Gremlins reached double figures in scoring with ExploreClarion player of the game Tate Beighley leading the way with 21 points. Jacob Callihan scored 17 points with 13 coming from the free throw line in a 13-of-17 effort. Luke Cramer and Shane Peters each scored 11 points.

“We’ve been playing really good basketball here recently,” said Karns City coach Zach Kepple. “We always have a little bit of a lapse somewhere along the line, but today we played really well. I was really impressed more with our defensive end, more than anything.”

Jack Craig paced C-L with 10 points, while Jack Callen scored eight points before fouling out. Jase Ferguson scored nine points with five rebounds before also fouling out in the contest.

“Jack Callen getting those two fouls that quickly into the game puts us in a challenging position,” said C-L head coach Pat Craig. “We just have to live with those situations and try and fight through it.”

Karns City scored the first five points of the contest before Ferguson broke the ice for C-L at the six-minute mark for a 5-2 Gremlin lead. A 5-0 run pushed the lead to eight at 10-2 before a free throw by Callen and a short jumper by Kohen Kemmer cut the lead to five at 10-5. However, the Gremlins would once again respond with a 7-2 run to take a 17-7 lead after one quarter.

Beighley scored eight points in the quarter, including the final five for Karns City.

Beighley once again showed why he was named the KSAC MVP this season.

“He runs the court. He’s telling people where to go on the press break,” Kepple said. “He’s the floor general. He did a really great job.”

A 14-6 run would push the Gremlins’ lead to 10 at 31-11 at the 2:51 mark of the second quarter. A pair of 3-pointers by Jack Craig and Jack Callen would help C-L close the half on an 8-3 run to trail 34-21 by halftime.

“We came out flat,” said Pat Craig. “We got some good looks, but once again we weren’t knocking shots down early. When you play against a good basketball team like Karns City, you can’t afford to miss a lot of shots like we were.”

Karns City held a 15-7 third quarter scoring advantage to push the lead back to 21 at 49-28 after three quarters.

An 11-1 run by C-L cut the lead back down to 11 at 50-39. Karns City then missed four free throws and Paul Craig hit a shot, cutting the lead down to nine at 50-41. However, the Gremlins finished the game on a 14-7 run to set the final score of 64-48.

“C-L is a good team, and we knew they wouldn’t quit,” Beighley said. “They made a run at us, but we were able to keep our composure. It’s great to get another KSAC title and now we’re after more and that’s a D9 title. That’s always our goal at the start of the season.”

Both teams will compete in the District 9 Class AA playoffs, which begin this week. Karns City, the No. 3 seed, will host sixth-seeded Cranberry on Friday. C-L, the number four seed will host, fifth-seeded Ridgway, also on Friday.

“We still have some basketball left to play,” said Craig. “That’s what I told the kids in the locker room. Our goal now is to try to get back to the District 9 championship game again. That was our goal coming into the season and of course that’s still our goal.”