CLARION, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The thrill of victory.
The agony of defeat.
Otto-Eldred felt both on Saturday.
(Pictured above, Manning Splain secures possession for Otto-Eldred against Serra Catholic. The Terrors beat Erie First Christian Academy on Saturday to advance to the state semifinals for the first time in school history/submitted photo)
The Terror boys basketball team held off hard-charging Erie First Christian Academy to escape Tippin Gymnasium with a 42-40 win in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinals.
The Otto-Eldred girls, though, missed a last-second shot in a 40-39 loss to Berlin Brothersvalley in the Class A quarterfinals to end the Terrors’ season.
BOYS HOLD ON LATE TO MAKE MORE HISTORY
In what was a back-and-forth game, a big defensive stop with less than 10 seconds remaining sent Otto-Eldred to its first state semifinal.
Leading by two, the Terrors turned Erie First Christian Academy away when Eagles’ Jesse Jong lost his balance and forced up a shot in the closing seconds that fell well short to hold on for the win.
The Terrors led 12-9 after one, but went cold from the field over the final three minutes of the second half and trailed 20-19 at the break.
But a huge 15-6 run in the third put Otto-Eldred up on the District 10 champion Eagles, 34-26.
Erie First roared back.
Jong hit a deep 3-pointer to tie the game at 38-38 with 3:42 left in the game.
Brax Caldwell hit a layup and Austin Cousins drained a pair of free throws with less than three minutes remaining to put the Terrors up. Despite not scoring again the rest of the game, Otto-Eldred hung on for the win.
Caldwell scored 14 points to lead the Terrors, who will take on District 7 champion Aliquippa on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined in the Class 2A semifinals.
Avery Collins led Erie First with 16 points.
FINAL SEQUENCE DOOMS GIRLS
Leading 39-38, Mercy Sechler grabbed a rebound off a missed shot and hit a short jumper to put Berlin Brothersville up by a point with 12.5 seconds on the clock.
Otto-Eldred had two chances to win it, but both shots misfired and Berlin moved on to face Union-New Castle in the state semifinals on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
It was the end of a storybook season for the Terrors, who won their first District 9 title and made it to the state quarterfinals for the second straight year.
It was also the end to the stellar career of Kate Sheeler, who leaves as the all-time leading scored in Otto-Eldred history with 1,699 points.
She scored 20 against Berlin Brothersvalley.
The Terrors fell behind 13-6 early, but rallied to take a 23-19 advantage at the half.
But Sheeler picked up her fourth foul with a little more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter and sat until the fourth.
Berlin took advantage, cutting the Otto-Eldred lead to 28-27 heading into the final frame.
The Mountaineers moved ahead 33-29, but the Terrors rallied again. Sheeler was fouled on a 3-point attempt and sank all three free throws to move Otto-Eldred to within one at 38-37 late in the fourth.
Two more Sheeler free throws gave Otto-Eldred the one-point lead, setting up the dramatic finish.
Grace Sechler led Berlin with 17 points. Mercy Sechler’s game-winner was her only points.
Jennifer Countryman added 10 for the Mountaineers.