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THE X-FACTOR: Luke Cramer Scores 21 Points as Karns City Cruises Past Cranberry and into Semifinals

KARNS CITY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The tougher the shot, the better for Luke Cramer.

Hand in his face? No problem. Off-balance? No worries. The Karns City senior is apt to find nothing but net anyway.

Cramer is an x-factor — a player the opponent has trouble accounting before because of his penchant for doing the improbable on the basketball court for the Gremlins.

“Cramer is an x-factor for sure,” said Karns City coach Zach Kepple. “Tough to guard, especially when he is shooting well.”

And Cramer was shooting well on Friday night at home against Cranberry.

(Pictured above, Luke Cramer)

Cramer hit for a game-high 21 points, including three more 3-pointers, as Karns City rolled to a 74-49 win over the Berries in the District 9 Class 2A quarterfinals.

It sets up a clash with Otto-Eldred on Tuesday at Tippin Gymnasium in the semifinals. That game is scheduled to tip off at 6 p.m.

Karns City, the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference tournament champion, has also been buoyed this season by balance. It showed up again on Friday.

Senior point guard Taite Beighley scored 17 points and also added 10 assists for another double-double. Jacob Callihan pitched in 10, Cole Johnston nine, Shane Peters seven, and Hobie Bartoe six to go with eight assists and five rebounds.

“Balance scoring is always key,” Kepple said. “Especially helpful on nights if someone isn’t scoring as well. Other guys can easily step up and have a big night.”

Karns City wasted little time in seizing control against Cranberry.

The Gremlins led 19-9 after one quarter and 32-19 at the half. They kept the pressure on in the third with a 23-point frame.

Cole Findlay led Cranberry with 20 points. Karns City held all-KSAC performer Ethan Merryman to just two points.

The next challenged for the third-seeded Gremlins is No. 2 seed Otto-Eldred, a 64-41 winner over Port Allegany.