By Madeline Williams
By Herald Sports Correspondent
EDINBORO — The West Middlesex Big Reds did it again! For the third straight year, the Big Reds, under the leadership of head coach Chad Mild, the winningest coach in West Middlesex school history, won the District 10 title with a thrilling 55-54 victory over the Fairview Tigers on Friday night at McComb Field House.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” said Mild. “I’m so happy for these kids. Great kids. It wasn’t all about the three-peat though, I just wanted this group of kids to have the success that they earned tonight. I think everyone doubted us at the beginning of the season, but I don’t think so tonight. I am just so proud of these kids.”
The win marked the first 3-peat District 10 champions for a Mercer County public school since the 1962-64 Mercer High basketball teams accomplished the feat under the direction of legendary coach John Swogger.
However, the 3-peat did not come easy for the Big Reds.
The squad led 11-10 at the end of the first frame and took a slight 29-26 lead at halftime after Ryan Dogan rebounded and put back an easy two from under the basket at the buzzer. Senior Christian Porterfield had 11 in the first half and big man Trey Staunch headed into the locker room with 10 points at the break.
“Without disrespecting an opponent, because Fairview is a very good team, we said we’ve played as good, if not better teams this year,” Mild said of the discussion in the halftime huddle. “We needed to keep our composure and keep battling it out one possession at a time.”
West Middlesex scored seven unanswered points to start the second half and ended the quarter with a 46-35 advantage, however the Tigers outscored the Reds 22-9 in the final frame to give the winners a close call in the final few minutes of action.
Staunch ended the game with 21 total points and 12 rebounds. Porterfield contributed 13 points and Isaac Williams added 9, including six clutch free throws in the final moments of the game. Dogan scored 7 points and also had 7 boards for the Big Reds.
For Fairview, Marc Corbin had 15 points and a handful of assists. Ben Kocan had 13 and Shannon Jackson also scored 10 points and brought down 10 rebounds for the Tigers.
West Middlesex rolled past Cambridge Springs (75-53) in the quarterfinals, beat Mercyhurst Prep (58-42) in the semifinals on Tuesday and now head to the state playoffs.
The 3-time champion Big Reds now advance to the PIAA playoffs to face the 4th seed out of District 7 (WPIAL) on Friday at a site and time TBA.
DISTRICT 10 CLASS AA
W. MIDDLESEX 11 18 17 9 55
FAIRVIEW 10 16 9 22 54
WEST MIDDLESEX — Staunch 8-5-6-21, Williams 3-6-6-13, C. Porterfield 5-1-3-13, Dogan 3-0-0-7, J. Porterfield 1-0-0-2, A. Long 1-0-0-3. 3-pt. goals: C. Porterfield 2, Williams 1, Dogan 1, A. Long 1. Totals: 21-12-15-55.
FAIRVIEW — Jackson 4-1-1-10, Dewey 1-0-0-3, Niland 4-0-0-9, Corbin 6-2-2-15, Kocan 5-1-1-13, Coles 2-1-2-5, Rinderle 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Kocan 2, Jackson 1, Dewey 1, Niland 1, Corbin 1. Totals: 22-5-6-54.