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CLARION - The Elk County Catholic Crusaders basketball season came to a close on Tuesday night as they were defeated by the District 7-2 Lincoln Park Charter School by a 66-47 score in the second round of the PIAA State Class A Playoffs held at Clarion University.
The Crusaders were outmatched by the much taller Leopards of Lincoln Park Charter. They not only had a large height advantage against the Crusaders in the game, but they also shot the ball much better than Elk Catholic did last night. The Crusaders hit on only 23 percent of their field goal attempts, while the Leopards hit on 51 percent.
"Lincoln Park is a very good ball club and they played very well tonight. They shot the ball well, moved the ball around very well and just played a very good ball game against us tonight," said Aaron Straub, ECCHS head coach. "We had a very bad shooting night, hitting 20 percent from the field in the first half and 25 percent in the second half. You aren't going to win many ball games, especially against good teams, shooting like that.
"I was pleased with the way we played tonight, as the players played with intensity through the game, battled hard on the boards and were scrappy the entire ball game. They never gave up. We tried to take the ball to them, but they were just too physical and Watson (6-10) was very tough to shoot against, as he had a ton of blocked shots. I thought we did a nice job of containing Chaquille Pratt (their leading scorer), but we just couldn't handle Watson.
"Overall this has been a very good year, as we got quality playing time from our seniors and our juniors improved quite a bit. I am proud of our nine seniors as they worked hard all season and did all we asked them to do. I am looking forward to working with our returning juniors next season."
Darren Simons led the Crusaders in scoring last evening with 17 points on two treys and an 11-for-14 night at the foul line. Following Darren in the scoring column were Ricky Pearsall, Mitchel Haberberger and Luke Daghir with seven points each, Tyler Herzing with four, Ben Daghir with three and Michael Jacob with two points. Ricky Pearsall had six rebounds and three steals
The Leopards of Lincoln Park Charter were paced by Devontae Watson with 31 points on 13 field goals and five foul goals. He was followed by Sharon Morland-Jones with 12 points, Chaquille Pratt with eight, Kyle Taylor and Jevar Smith with six each, and B. J. Lipke with three points. Watson paced the Leopards in rebounds with 19 and had 15 blocked shots.
Pratt opened the scoring for the Leopards with a layoff off the opening tip. Pearsall tied the game a short time later at 2-2, but the Leopards scored the next six points to take an 8-2 lead. A three-point play by Haberberger cut the lead to 8-5, then the Leopards ran off seven straight points to take a 15-5 lead at the end of one period.
Watson opened the second period with a bucket, then Pearsall hit two foul goals for Elk, 17-7. Four Lincoln Park points were then followed by buckets by Haberberger and Simons to make it 21-10. The Leopards scored the next seven points to go up 28-10. Herzing scored to make it 28-12, but the Leopards scored the next nine points to go up 37-12. Simons added two foul goals and L. Daghir a field goal to make it 37-16. A Lincoln Park bucket at the end of the period gave the Leopards a 39-16 halftime lead.
Pearsall opened the second half with a bucket, then Watson's putback was followed by a trey by Simons, 41-21. Two more Lincoln buckets were followed by a B. Daghir trey. Watson and Haberberger traded field goals, then the Leopards scored two more field goals, 51-26. Simons hit three foul goals to make it 51-29, then Watson and L. Daghir exchanged fielders at the end of the period, making it 53-31.
Herzing opened the final period with two foul goals and L. Daghir hit a trey to make it 53-36. The Leopards scored six straight points, 59-36, before Simons made three more foul goals, 59-39. Another Leopards field goal was followed by a Simons trey, 61-42. Down the stretch the Crusaders outscored the Leopards 5-3, three by Simons and two by Jacob, to make the final score 66-47.
The Crusaders finished out the season with a 24-5 record. The following seniors played in their final Crusader basketball game: Ricky Pearsall, Tyler Herzing, Ben Crowe, Eric Wehler, Darren Simons, Mitchel Haberberger, Ben Daghir, Luke Daghir and Josh Gebauer.
The Crusaders were out-rebounded by the Leopards 42-28. Elk had 22 turnovers and the Leopards 23.
Elk Catholic 47
Ricky Pearsall 2-0-3-5-7, Tyler Herzing 1-0-2-2-4, Darren Simons 0-2-11-14-17, Ben Daghir 0-1-0-0-3, Josh Gebauer 0-0-0-0-0, Ben Crowe 0-0-0-0-0, Eric Wehler 0-0-0-0-0, Brandon Pollick 0-0-0-0-0, Ben Wortman 0-0-0-0-0, Kevin Kraus 0-0-0-0-0, Michael Jacob 1-0-0-0-2, Mitchel Haberberger 3-0-1-1-7, Luke Daghir 2-1-0-0-7. Totals 9-4-17-22-47
Lincoln Park Charter 66
Devontae Watson 13-0-5-7-31, Kyle Taylor 2-0-2-2-6, Sharon Morland-Jones 6-0-0-0-12, Chaquille Pratt 4-0-0-0-8, Jevar Smith 3-0-0-0-6, B. J. Lipke 1-0-1-3-3. Totals 29-0-8-12-66.
Score by quarters
ECCHS 5 11 15 16 47
L. Park 15 24 14 13 66