EDINBORO — All good things must come to an end!
Unfortunately for the Lakeview Sailors (23-5), that ending didn’t come in a storybook fashion with a state championship in Hershey, but rather, with a gut-wrenching 56-44 loss to WPIAL champion and No. 1 ranked Beaver Falls in the PIAA Western Region Semifinals Saturday afternoon at Edinboro University’s McComb Fieldhouse.
With the win, the Tigers (26-3) will face West Middlesex (25-3) in the PIAA Western Region Finals at a site and time to be determined Tuesday.
“For several months, this team sold out for each other and you can’t ask for anything more,” Lakeview coach Gary Burke said. “We talk team all the time. Yeah, the individual stuff is great, but we talk about the team being more important than anything. I don’t know how you could be more proud of a group of young men that came in day-after-day and battled. A lot of people thought Lakeview was pretty good, but I don’t think anyone expected us to get this far. That says so much about these kids. This was very, very special.”
After Beaver Falls jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, the Sailors charged back to keep the deficit to within a pair of buckets — 9 times they were within 6 points — but each time, Beaver Falls answered to push their lead to a more comfortable cushion.
The most notable coming at the start of the second half when Coty Gander converted a traditional three-point play to pull the Sailors to within 27-24.
The Lakeview defense forced Beaver Falls into 3 straight misses, but the Sailor offense failed to capitalize on the opportunity before the Tigers reeled off 5 straight points to take a more comfortable 32-24 lead.
Two free throws from Casey Greggs, a traditional three-point play from Dalton Boggs and a Zach VanDusen lay-up ended the third frame with the Sailors pulling to within 35-31, but Beaver Falls extended its lead back to 9 at 42-33 on a trey from Drew Cook and a pair of freebies from Elijah Cottrill and Dan Stratton.
Again, Lakeview charged back and cut the lead to 46-41 on a Boggs triple midway through the fourth quarter, but the Sailors would get no closer as Beaver Falls connected on 6-of-10 freebies to ice the game before Cottrill literally slammed the door shut with a transition dunk in the closing seconds.
“We’d get it to within a bucket or two and we’d make some unforced errors,” Burke said. “You have to give credit to Beaver Falls, because our kids were expecting that extra pressure and when they didn’t get it, we anticipated it and made a mistake because of it. That goes with the territory. When you get to this point in the season, you’re eventually going to run into a great team, but there’s a reason why we’re in the Elite Eight. We proved that tonight.”
While the Sailors had very little problems solving the Tigers’ vaunted pressure defense, Beaver Falls still coerced Lakeview into a season-high 26 turnovers.
“We handled their full-court pressure bar none better than anyone else has up to this point in the season,” Burke said. “Our kids were mentally prepared for their full-court press and we took them out of it. It was little bit of a surprise that they were able to turn us over as many times as they did in the half-court. We had uncharacteristic turnovers from guys that generally don’t make turnovers.”
Lakeview was led by its three senior starters — Boggs (16 points, 5 rebounds), Greggs (12 points, 4 assists) and Gander (10-point, 12-rebound double-double).
“We needed to do a better job of making ourselves available to Dalton when he came across the half-court,” Burke said. “At times, we got lackadaisical and didn’t give Dalton the help he needed to get us into our offensive sets.
“We did have some good looks. The kids scrapped and they hustled. They had some great basketball looks. Our kids just battled and that’s all you can ask for.”
With the loss, Lakeview must say good-bye to a pair of 1,000-point scorers in Boggs and Greggs, a two-year starter in Gander and a valued reserve in Andrew Fowler.
“I was asked a couple weeks ago if this was a great group of basketball players coming all the way up through (the program),” Burke said. “I said ‘No, they were a great group of kids.’ They were great kids from the word go, but they weren’t great basketball players. What they’ve been able to accomplish to this point is absolutely amazing.
“Dalton, Casey and Coty especially have played a lot of basketball and they got Andrew Fowler to come with them to play basketball. Those four have been thick as thieves. They are four kids that wanted the best for themselves and everyone around them. They were developed. If it weren’t Coach (Larry) Boggs getting these guys started in the elementary program and it weren’t for our LBA program and the coaches all the way up through, these kids wouldn’t be sitting here with their hearts ripped out of their chests. Some day, they’ll be able to look back and see what we really accomplished this year. Yeah, we don’t have any banners up on the wall for the season, but there hasn’t been a team that has garnered as much respect from the community than this group of seniors right here.”
Notes: Cook led Beaver Falls with 19 points, while Stratton and Cottrill contributed 15 and 14 points, respectively. ... Beaver Falls had 9 turnovers — including 5 in the third quarter. ... Lakeview held a 29-22 edge on the glass. ... VanDusen had 4 assists. ... Lakeview knocked down 15-of-37 field goals, 10-of-12 free throws and 4-of-11 from downtown. ... Beaver Falls made 17-of-43 shots, 19-of-25 from the line and 4-of-8 from behind the three-point line.
PIAA CLASS AA
WESTERN REGION QUARTERFINALS
LAKEVIEW 9 12 10 13 44
BEAVER FALLS 12 15 8 21 56
LAKEVIEW — Boggs 5-4-5-16, Greggs 3-4-4-12, Gander 4-2-2-10, B. Rice 2-0-0-4, VanDusen 1-0-1-2, A. Rice 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Boggs 2, Greggs 2. Totals: 15-10-12-44.
BEAVER FALLS — Cook 6-5-6-19, Cottrill 3-8-10-14, Akins 2-0-2-4, Turner 1-0-0-2, Stratton 4-6-7-15, Miller 1-0-0-2, Mason 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Cook 2, Stratton 1. Totals: 17-19-25-56.
EDINBORO — All good things must come to an end!
LOCAL COLLEGE SPORTS: Thiel's Schafer picked for NCAA Pathway Program
Thiel College assistant director of athletics and senior woman administrator Amy Schafer was one of just 12 individuals recently selected for the NCAA 2014 Pathway Program.
The Pathway Program exists to assist minority and/or female administrators who wish to become director of athletics as their next career step through education, training and mentoring. The program is designed to provide national exposure to its participants and to generate the opportunity to glean information and career guidance from the leadership of intercollegiate athletics administrators throughout the country.
Reynolds 20-year home mat streak halted
They say that all good things must end. Even winning streaks of local powerhouse Reynolds High wrestling team!
The Raiders of coach Casey Taylor dropped a tough 30-25 decision to Erie McDowell Tuesday night at Reynolds, the first home loss for the Raiders since 1993.
The Class AAA Trojans (2-0) last year rallied from a large deficit to beat Class AA Reynolds in Erie, 38-33. On Tuesday, the northerners also rallied from a 25-21 deficit in the final two matches to halt the streak.
Roundup: Sharon rallies to beat WM, 72-56
When West Middlesex High’s wonderful 2013 Final Four run ended last March 22, it was at Sharon’s Tiger gymnasium. And while Tuesday night’s circumstances were considerably less dramatic, they ended similarly.
The Big Reds built a 20-8 first-quarter bulge. Ultimately, however, West Middlesex made 27 miscues, resulting in a 72-56 District 10 inter-region setback at Sharon.
Roundup: WM girls beat UC; Sharpsville, KC fall
ä West Middlesex 52, Union City 27 — At Union City, coach Mike Williams’ Region 1-A Ms. Reds improved to 2-1 with a win over the Lady Bears of Region 4-AA.
Alyson Pierce scored 15 to lead WM, Noelle Murray registered 13 points and Allie Staunch bucketed 10 markers.
Hickory falls to Lions in PIAA Class AA western region final
SLIPPERY ROCK — Brett Brumbaugh brought Bill Brest back to reality.
Brest seemed, Saturday afternoon, momentarily lost in thought when a post-game question was posed. Perhaps it was because it had been 3 months since he had experienced the disappointment of defeat.
Brumbaugh-led South Fayette’s football team short-circuited a splendid season a step shy of the statewide stage for Brest and Hickory High with a 23-20 win over the Hornets in the PIAA Class AA western regional championship game.
SPORTVIEW: Browns, Steelers will both lose
THE CLEVELAND Browns quarterback position has been a revolving door this season, but at least one of the more successful signal-callers is back. Jason Campbell is recovered from a concussion and will start.
Does it really matter?
Roundup: Opening-weekend tipoff tourneys conclude
Kittanning Tipoff Championship
ä Hickory 60, Kittanning 32 — Coach Jeannette Whitehead’s Lady Hornets had an impressive weekend in winning the opening tourney of the season.
“It’s nice to get out of the game with a win,” said Whitehead. “The kids were anxious to get going.”
2013-14 hoops season begins with tipoff tourneys
Farrell Julius McCoy Tipoff Tourney
ä Kennedy Catholic 48, Imani Christian Academy 40 — The Golden Eagles set up an all local rematch with host Farrell by pulling away in the fourth quarter in a tight battle.
For KC, Gerald Zachar and Sam Crow each scored 13 points to pace the victory, Brown had 14 and Southerner 12 for Imani.
Brookfield boys win season-opener against Py Valley
It was a typical season-opener: Too many turnovers, some questionable shot selection, and careless personal fouls. But for Brookfield High boys’ bench boss Bill Kovach, “ ... always happy with a win.”
The Warriors were 7-for-10 from the free-throw line during the 4th frame, and held off Pymatuning Valley, 59-48, Tuesday night.
Hornets advance to semis with win over Central
DuBOIS, PA. — Some people could say the “third time is a charm.” For the Hickory High Hornets it was much more than that. In fact, it was glorious.
After losing in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs the last two years, the Hornets finally nailed down a victory with a 37-27 triumph over the Central Dragons from Martinsburg.
Lakeview falls to Clarion Area in PIAA quarterfinals
SLIPPERY ROCK — In the scholastic athletic arena, “mercy rule” — while not politically correct in hyper-sensitive 2013 society — is a relatively accepted term.
Clarion High’s football had mercy-ruled all 13 prior opponents this season. And the Bobcats seemed bent on continuing their commanding conquests during Saturday’s PIAA Class A quarterfinal-round meeting with Lakeview.
Hickory focused on winning PIAA opener
The calendar reminds us that Thanksgiving arrives a little later than usual this year. But as holiday traditions go, this one has been pretty productive for Hickory High head football coach Bill Brest.
“My wife always has me put up our Christmas tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving ... and the next day, we’ve won. So I’ll be more than happy to help my wife put up the tree this Friday,” Brest related.
During the past 2 years Hickory has won District 10 titles on Thanksgiving weekend. But this year the Hornets harvested their 3rd consecutive crown last week, jettisoning Girard (21-10). Now Hickory (11-1) has a 1 p.m. date in DuBois Saturday against surprising Central-Martinsburg (11-2) in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.
Smart move by PIAA to schedule games early this weekend
Congratulations to the PIAA for making a good move that helps teams and fans of high school sports.
Wow, I haven’t been able to say that often enough!
But many of the high school football games this coming weekend will be played in the afternoon which is a real plus for traveling on possibly snow-blown highways at this time of the year.
Hornets 3-peat as D-10 champs with win vs. Girard
EDINBORO — When legendary coach Vince Lombardi said “the only good thing that comes from losing is the desire never to lose again,” he could very well have been referencing the future for Coach Bill Brest and his Hickory Hornets.
Since Hickory lost to Sharon, 14-6, in the 2010 District 10 finals in Brest’s first year at the helm of the team, the D-10 Class AA title game has belonged to Hickory. And Saturday afternoon at Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium, it was no different as the Hornets topped Girard, 21-10 for a third straight crown.
Sailors beat Devils to capture 1st District 10 title
NEW WILMINGTON — Lakeview may have a long way to go to equal Sharpsville’s success in the sport of football, but the Sailors jump-started the process Friday night.
With Blake Reddick roaring into the record book, the Sailors shut out Sharpsville, 27-0, in the District 10 Class A championship game at Greyhounds Stadium.
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