Herald Staff reports

Hickory High boys’ basketball program had endured a decade-long drought from its last postseason appearance. And that may have played a part in the Hornets’ 45-43 District 10 Class AAA opening-round setback to Fort LeBoeuf Thursday night.

Hickory harvested a 7-point first-quarter lead at Slippery Rock University’s Morrow Field House, but allowed it to dissipate into a 13-point third-period deficit before rallying to assume a short-lived 2-point fourth-frame edge.

But David Lumpp’s driving layup attempt from the right side glanced off the glass and was rebounded by LeBoeuf’s Nick Henneberry at the buzzer.

A Hickory turnover with 1:31 remaining resulted in Henneberry handing off to Harry Latta for a layin, and the latter’s subsequent free throw boosted the Bison to a 44-43 edge.

The Hornets failed to recover a loose ball with 22.8 ticks to play, allowing LeBoeuf to retain possession, and Latta converted the front end of a double-bonus free-throw opportunity wih 20.2 seconds. He missed the latter, which was rebounded by Andy Banas, and Hickory headmaster Nick Cannone called a timeout with 9.4 seconds.

However Lumpp, who drilled back-to-back treys to commence the contest, could not convert and was not helped by a ball-screen that was not executed, according to Cannone.

Hickory (16-8) hurt itself with 4-for-14 free-throw shooting, while the 6-foot-5 Henneberry singlehandedly hit on 8 of 9 attempts and ended with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double. Fort LeBoeuf (15-10) finished 10 for 14 from the charity stripe.

“It’s disapppointing, I thought the team deserved better, but that’s the way playoffs are — you gotta make your fouls,” Cannone commented.

Hickory held a 10-8 first-quarter lead and still maintained a 14-13 margin with 5:43 remaining in the second stanza. But from that point the Bison burst on a 17-3 spree, resulting in a 30-17 lead with 4:31 left in the third quarter on 6-6 Chris Getz’s putback. During that span the Hornets had a 5-minute, 2-second scoreless skein.

However Banas bucketed 8 third-period points, drawing Hickory within 33-27 entering the fourth frame. Then with Jaymee Shephard stroking a pair of triples from the corner Hickory closed to within 36-33 with 6:54 to play.

Banas’ banked top-of-the-key trey, Lumpp’s freebie, and Nick Erdesky’s putback of his own miss drew Hickory even at 41 with 3:14 left, then Banas’ bomb 46 seconds later afforded the Hornets their first lead (43-41) since the second stanza.

“I thought we had them on the run,” Cannone said. “But all throughout the course of the game it just seemed like we were a step behind on loose balls and that. Even at the end that loose ball, we had it, then we lost it. All game it was like that ... I don’t know if that was an omen or what. But usually you get your fair share of them, but they got most of those.”

Banas bucketed 16 points and snared 9 caroms for Hickory, which shot 16 of 37 (43.2 percent) from the floor, was outrebounded 30-25, and committed 8 miscues, one more than LeBoeuf. The Bison bucketed 15 of 41 field-goal attempts (36.5).

“They did battle, and I knew they would,” Cannone said of his Hornets. “Sixteen wins, I’m pretty proud of that. With the competition we played, we got spanked twice this year — North East and Grove City. So the other 22 games, we were right there. ... I think you’re going to hear from Hickory basketball for a while.”

Only Erdesky and Jordan Benes graduate this year.

“Jordan Benes and Nick Erdesky were class kids. Benes, as small as he is (5-7), he has the heart of a lion. He won some big games for us this year and played good basketball for us this year and throughout his career,” Cannone praised. “And Erdesky was such a great mentor for (freshman post Matt) Durisko this year. He could not have taken an interest, because Durisko got a lot of his playing time, but he was a solid person. We’re going to miss both their leadership and what they brought as far as their attitude.” — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor

ä Grove City 40, Meadville 39 (OT) — At Slippery Rock University, Meadville (12-13) gave the seventh ranked Eagles all they could handle for the third consecutive meeting before bowing.

With the win, Grove City (22-3) will face Warren (18-6), a team they downed 53-45 earlier in the year, at a time and date to be determined.

“I knew it could be (a close game),” said Grove City coach Don Fee, who earned his 325th win Thursday evening, “We caught a dangerous team in the first round of the playoffs. That first rounder — throw out the records and everything else — because you know it could be your last (game).

“We’re very fortunate to get a win. I give the kids a lot of credit. Their character really showed, because we haven’t been in any games like this this year.”

The Bulldogs held a 31-25 lead with just over two minutes to play in regulation when the sophomore guard Kyle Perrine and senior guard Jordan Fee knocked down back-to-back three-pointers with Fee’s coming with 31 ticks left in regulation.

“Kyle had one bucket today and what a big one it was,” coach Fee said. “We came down and Jordan hit a three.”

Meadville sophomore Toney Phillips was fouled with 21.7 seconds left, but missed both freebies.

The teams traded punches in the four-minute extra session with Maxx Stutz canning a pair of free throws to hand GC its first lead (35-34) since 24-23 early in the fourth quarter.

From that point on, senior Dan Keil drained 5-of-6 from the line to preserve the playoff victory for the Eagles.

Grove City shot 24 percent (12-of-50) from the field, 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from the line and 25 percent from downtown (4-of-16).

“We couldn’t get into a flow,” coach Fee said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well and Meadville’s defense will do that you. They keep you out of your flow. We had a couple mini-runs and they’d call a quick time-out, which settled them down. They’d get a score. It was hard to pull away from them.”

Maxx Stutz, Jordan Fee and Keil evenly split 30 points, while Ben Liebling totaled 7 points and 12 rebounds for Grove City. Stutz also had 7 rebounds and 3 steals, while Fee had 6 caroms.

Phillips led Meadville with a 13-point, 13-rebound double double, while Aaron Barton and Brian McLaughlin combined for 11 rebounds.

“There were a lot of blocked shots and not a lot of fouls,” coach Fee said. “That’s the way the game was going. We tried to take the ball to the hole. I don’t know how many blocked shots they had, but they must have set a District 10 playoff record. They must have had 25 blocked shots ....” — Information submitted by Allied News Sports Editor Corey J. Corbin.


ä Brookfield 37, South Range 34 — At the Division III Hanoverton Sectional at United Local High School, coach Shawn Hammond’s Lady Warriors (19-2) received a scare as they were almost upset by the South Range Lady Raiders (8-13).

Brookfield only led 24-23 at halftime and outscored South Range 13-11 in the second half.

Junior Morgan Bonekovic led Brookfield with a game-high 15 points. Kelly Jones added 11 markers, which included 3 three-pointers.

Kelcie Witmer was the leading point-getter for South Range with 7 markers.

In the opening game at United Local on Thursday, Ursuline defeated Lisbon, 47-44.

Brookfield’s next game is against the Ursuline Lady Irish at 6 p.m. on March 1 at United Local High.


District 10 Class AAA Quarterfinals

LeBOEUF 8 16 9 12 45

HICKORY 10 6 11 16 43

FORT LEBOEUF — Latta 3-2-3-9, Muroff 3-0-2-8, Henneberry 5-8-9-18, Getz 3-2-3-9, Campbell 2-0-0-6, Willow 0-0-0-0, Thompson 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Campbell 2, Muroff 2, Latta 1. Totals: 15-10-14-45.

HICKORY — Lumpp 2-1-4-7, Banas 6-1-3-16, Erdesky 2-0-0-4, Baughman 0-0-0-0, Szabo 1-0-0-2, Durisko 2-1-2-5, Shephard 3-0-0-8, Benes 0-1-3-1, Englebaugh 0-0-2-0. 3-pt. goals: Banas 3, Lumpp 2, Shephard 2. Totals: 16-4-14-43.


GROVE CITY 10 5 9 7 9 40

MEADVILLE 7 6 8 10 8 39

GROVE CITY — Fee 4-0-0-10, Liebling 2-3-6-7, Keil 2-5-6-10, Perrine 1-0-0-3, Stutz 3-4-6-10, McNamara 0-0-0-0, Denbow 0-0-0-0, Donaldson 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Fee 2, Keil 1, Perrine 1. Totals: 12-10-18-40.

MEADVILLE — Phillips 6-1-4-13, Ness 0-2-4-2, Geiger 2-0-0-5, Barton 4-1-2-9, Motillo 1-1-2-4, McLaughlin 3-0-1-6. 3-pt. goals: Geiger 1, Motillo 1. Totals: 16-5-13-39.


OHSAA Division III

Hanoverton Sectional

BROOKFIELD 15 9 7 6 37

SOUTH RANGE 10 13 5 6 34

BROOKFIELD — Reiser 1-0-0-2, L. Gentile 1-2-4-4, Brenner 1-0-0-3, Jones 3-2-2-11, Bonekovic 7-0-2-15, Hiner 1-0-0-2. 3-pt. goals: Jones 3, Brenner 1, Bonekovic 1. Totals: 14-4-8-37.

SOUTH RANGE — Downie 1-2-2-5, Withers 1-3-4-5, K. Witmer 2-2-2-7, A. Witmer 0-2-2-2, Schuster 1-0-2-2, Carter 4-0-0-8, Courchenour 1-0-0-2, Schular 1-1-2-3. 3-pt. goals: Downie 1, K. Witmer 1. Totals: 11-10-14-34.

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