Elk County Catholic's Crusaders wrapped up the AML North Division title last evening with a 74-47 victory over the visiting Sheffield Area High Wolverines in a game played at the Aaron J. Straub gym at Elk Catholic.
With the win, the Crusaders will host the No. 2 team out of the South Divison on Friday, Feb. 18, for the right to play in the AML championship game on Saturday, Feb. 19 at St. Marys Area High School.
"We ran the floor very well tonight and made some very good passes," noted Coach Aaron Straub of the Crusaders. "We made better decisions on offensive, which can be attributed to the fine play of our point guards.
"I was disappointed in our free throws, the way we played off the glass and we didn't finish well inside. We will have to work on these three things and do a better job on them down the road."
The Crusaders shot well from the field last night, hitting on 43.9 percent of their shots. From the 3-point line, the Crusaders made nine shots in 21 attempts for 42.9 percent.
Elk Catholic was led in the scoring department by Tyler Herzing with 17 points on six field goals, a trey and two foul goals. Ben Daghir was next with 15 points on two field goals, three treys and a two-for-two night at the line. Darren Simons was next with nine points, followed by Ricky Pearsall and Mitchel Haberberger with eight each, Brandon Pollick with six, Ben Wortman with three, and Ben Crowe, Eric Wehler, Michael Jacob and Josh Gebauer with two each.
Sheffield was paced by Kalil Slaughter with 16 points, George Fitch with 10 points, Ike Nearing with nine, Nick Bonavita with six and Dylan McNeal with three points.
Josh Gebauer led the Crusaders in the rebound department with nine, followed by Ben Wortman and Mitchel Haberberger with five each. Tyler Herzing had four steals and Caleb Lecker a blocked shot.
Herzing put the Crusaders up 2-0 at the start of the game, but Fitch tied it a short time later. B. Daghir hit a field goal and Pearsall a trey to make it 7-2. A Sheffield bucket was followed by a field goal by Herzing and two foul goals by Pearsall, 11-4. Fitch and Haberberger traded field goals and Nearing and B. Daghir traded treys to end the period with Elk in front 16-9.
B. Daghir opened the second quarter with back-to-back treys, followed by a Simons field goal, 24-9. Two foul goals by Slaughter were followed by buckets by Herzing and Haberberger. Slaughter then hit a field goal, but Simons answered with a trey, 31-13. Bonavita hit a trey, Simons a foul goal and Fitch a field goal to make it 32-18. Gebauer hit two foul goals, followed by a Slaughter bucket, 34-20. Herzing hit a trey and Slaughter a field goal to end the half with the score at 37-22.
Simons turned a 3-point play to open the second half, then Slaughter and Herzing exchanged field goals, 42-24. A trey by Sprandle and a 3-point play by Bonavita cut the lead to 42-30. Haberberger then hit two foul goals, Pearsall a trey and Herzing a 3-point play to push the lead back up to 20 points, 50-30. McNeal and Wehler exchanged fielders, then Fitch hit two foul goals before Wortman's buzzer-beater 3-pointer to make it 55-34 going into the final stanza.
Slaughter opened the final period with a bucket, then Herzing and Sprandle exchanged field goals. Another exchange occurred between Haberberber and Fitch, making the score 59-40. Herzing hit a foul goal, followed by a bucket by Nearing. B. Daghir connected on two foul goals and a field goal. Crowe hit a field goal for Elk to make it 66-42. Slaughter and Nearing both hit field goals to make it 66-46. In the closing minutes, Pollick scored six points and Jacob two points for Elk, while McNeal hit a foul goal for the Wolverines to make the final score 74-47 in favor of the Crusaders.
Elk turned the ball over 13 times last evening compared to 23 for the Wolverines.
The Crusaders are now 13-3 overall and 6-0 in the AML North Division. Elk will play on Wednesday night as they host the DuBois Area High Beavers in a District Nine League game. If there is bad weather and the schools close as a result, the game will be played on Thursday evening. Wednesday will also be Senior Player Night for the Crusaders.
At halftime of the JV game last evening, the participants in the Little Dribblers Program displayed their skills.
Sheffield Area 47
Mark Sprandle 1-1-0-0-5, Brendan Winslow 0-0-0-0-0, Kalil Slaughter 7-0-2-4-16, Nick Bonavita 1-1-1-2-6, Dylan McNeal 1-0-1-2-3, Ike Nearing 3-1-0-0-0-9, George Fitch 4-0-2-2-10. Totals 17-2-6-10-47.
Elk Catholic 74
Ricky Pearsall 0-2-2-2-8, Tyler Herzing 6-1-2-5-17, Ben Crowe 1-0-0-0-2, Eric Wehler 1-0-0-0-2, Brandon Pollick 0-1-3-6-6, Caleb Lecker 0-0-0-0-0, Kevin Kraus 0-0-0-0-0, Michael Jacob 1-0-0-0-2, Darren Simons 2-1-2-3-9, Mitchel Haberberger 3-0-2-2-8, Ben Daghir 2-3-2-2-15, Luke Daghir 0-0-0-0-0, Josh Gebauer 16-9-15-28-74.
Score by quarters
Sheffield 9 13 12 13 47
ECCHS 16 21 18 19 74
The Elk Catholic junior varsity team picked up a 44-34 victory in the preliminary game over the Sheffield JVs.
Elk took a slim 13-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, then increased it to four points, 23-19 at the half, as they outscored the Wolverines 10-9 in the second period.
Elk pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Sheffield squad by a 14-4 margain to take a 37-23 lead into the final frame. Sheffield outscored the Crusaders 11-7 in the final period to cut Elk's margin of victory to 10 points, 44-34.
Sheffield scoring: Dylan Reynolds 9, Tony Burt 4, Brendan Winslow 3, Chris Pedersen 5, Dylan McNeal 4, Isaac Nearing 9.
Elk Catholic scoring: Clayton Housler 11, Mitchell O'Neill 3, Alex Herzing 3, Devin Constable 5, Hank Cappiello 7, Scott Reichard 0, Jack Herzing 6, Ben Cortina 4, Brock McCullough 4, Shea Meyer 1.