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CLARION - The Elk County Catholic Crusaders advanced to the second round of the PIAA Class A Tournament with a 58-49 victory over the Serra Catholic Eagles last night at Clarion Universityâ€™s Waldo Tippin Gymnasium.
The Crusaders will meet Lincoln Park Charter on Tuesday night at a site and time to be announced by the PIAA. Lincoln Park defeated West Middlesex by a 70-35 score last night.
In last nightâ€™s game, the Crusaders used an 8-2 run late in the third period and outscored the Eagles 21-13 in the fourth quarter to record their victory.
â€śOverall I thought we played a pretty good second half but our start was really good,â€ť said ECCHS coach Aaron Straub referring to Elk Catholicâ€™s 9-1 lead early in the contest.
â€śI thought we played a real solid fourth quarter,â€ť said Straub.
â€śEarly on we were able to get some takes off their zone offensively,â€ť noted the coach. â€śWe had a solid offensive performance tonight and they (the players) created stuff on their own.â€ť
â€śWe were able to make the game manageable in the second half,â€ť said Straub.
â€śSerra put some good athletes on the floor,â€ť added coach Straub.
The Crusader offense was led by Darren Simons with 16 points on two twos, two threes and a four for five night from the foul line. Ricky Pearsall had 13 points on five field goals and a three for six night from the foul line. Tyler Herzing and Mitchel Haberberger each added nine points.
Serra Catholic had three players in double figures led by Daryan Robinson with 14 points on five field goals and a four for five night from the foul line. Matt Loftis had 12 points on three twos and two threes. Shawn Menzies had 10 points on four field goals and a two for three night from the foul line.
Neither team scored in the first two minutes of the contest until Elkâ€™s Josh Gebauer converted a three-point play giving Elk the 3-0 lead at the 5:50 mark. Herzing added a two 5-0. Robinson converted one of two foul shots, 5-1. Simons and Herzing hit field goals making it 9-1 with 4:17 left in the period. Kyle Taylor converted a foul shot, 9-2. Haberberger scored on a putback and Joe Jurofcik scored for Serra, 11-6. Haberberger and Loftis traded buckets, 13-8. Eric Wehler scored for Elk with Jurofcik answering for Serra, making the score 15-10 in favor of Elk Catholic after the first period of play.
Menzies scored on a putback to open the second period. Loftis hit a three, Robinson scored on a putback and Loftis added a field goal as Serra went up 19-15. Pearsall and Luke Daghir scored to knot the game at 19. Menzies and Haberberger traded buckets, 21-21. Menzies and Robinson hit field goals and Menzies added two foul shots as Serra led 27-21 with 52 seconds left in the first half. Haberberger scored to cut Serraâ€™s lead to 27-23 at the half.
Simons and Robinson opened the second half with field goals. Pearsall converted two of three foul shots cutting Serraâ€™s lead to 29-27. Robinson converted a three-point lead, 32-27. Pearsall cut it to 32-29 with 5:31 left. Robinson converted two foul shots, 34-29. Herzing hit a field goal at the four minute mark to start Elkâ€™s run. He added another field goal at the 2:01 mark to cut Serraâ€™s lead to one, 34-33. Pearsall gave ECC the 35-34 lead with 1:21 left in the period. He added a foul shot with 56 seconds left to give ECC the 36-34 lead. Menzies tied the game at 36. Herzing converted a foul shot with two seconds left giving ECC the 37-36 lead at the end of three quarters.
Pearsall scored off a steal to open the fourth quarter, 39-36. A three by Loftis tied the game at 39. Simons and Taylor traded threes. Simons hit a two, 44-42, then would hit a three, 47-42. Robinson and Herzing traded field goals. Taylor and Pearsall exchanged field goals, 51-46. Pearsall converted two foul shots, 53-46 with 1:29 left. Haberberger added a foul shot with 52 seconds remaining. Taylor hit a three with 36 seconds left to cut Elkâ€™s lead to 54-49. Gebauer and Simons would each sink two foul shots in the final seconds giving Elk the 58-49 win.
The Crusaders are now 24-4 on the season.
They will play Lincoln Park Charter, the District 7 runner up Tuesday at a site and time to be announced.
Serrra Catholic outrebounded ECC 24-21. Robinson led Serra with 12 rebounds. Haberberger had five and Simons had four to lead ECC.
Serra Catholic 49
Matt Loftis 3-2-0-0-12, Kyle Taylor 1-2-1-4-9, Joe Jurofcik 2-0-0-0-4, Daryan Robinson 5-0-4-5-15, Shaun Menzies 4-0-2-3-10, John Wiater 0-0-0-0-0, Mark Matta 0-0-0-0-0, Max Kaminsky 0-0-0-0-0. Totals 15-4-7-12-49.
Ricky Pearsall 5-0-3-6-13, Tyler Herzing 4-0-1-4-9, Ben Crowe 0-0-0-0-0, Eric Wehler 1-0-0-0-2, Brandon Pollick 0-0-0-0-0, Kevin Kraus 0-0-0-0-0, Michael Jacob 0-0-0-0-0, Darren Simons 2-2-4-5-16, Mitchel Haberberger 4-0-1-2-9, Ben Daghir 0-0-0-0-0, Luke Daghir 2-0-0-0-4, Josh Gebauer 1-0-3-3-5. Totals 20-2-11-17-58.
Score by quarters
Serra 10 17 9 13 49
ECCHS 15 8 14 21 58