Elk Catholic's Crusaders picked up their seventh win of the season on Tuesday evening as they defeated the visiting Punxsutawney Area Chucks by a 52-33 score in a District 9 League encounter at the Aaron J. Straub gym on the Elk Catholic campus.
Things started out very slowly for the Crusaders, as they were held scoreless in the first five minutes of the game, falling behind 9-2. Then, in the final three minutes of the period, the Crusaders began clicking as they outscored Punxsy 8-2 to get back in the game.
"I'm very happy with the way we played tonight. We started out a little slow but came back strong after the poor start," said Aaron Straub, ECCHS head coach. "We made many excellent passes tonight and shot the ball well, especially in the second half. Defensively we played very well tonight, as we pressured the ball very well.
"We had some very good practices coming into the game and the kids played with plenty of intensity tonight. We are improving with each game, as this team has some very good athletes. The only negative part about tonight's game was the sloppy turnovers we committed, but we will work hard on cleaning that up before the next ball game."
Ricky Pearsall led the Crusaders in the scoring department on Tuesday with 12 points on three field goals and two treys. He was followed by Ben Daghir and Tyler Herzing with nine points each, Darren Simons with eight points, Luke Daghir with seven, Josh Gebauer with three, and Ben Crowe and Michael Jacob with two each.
Josh Gebauer led the Crusaders in the rebounding department with 11. He also had a steal. Simons had four rebounds and Wehler three, while Ben Crowe had three steals, and Luke Daghir and Ben Daghir two each to lead the Crusaders in that department.
Daniel Triponey led the Chucks in the scoring department with 10 points on three field goals, a trey and a foul goal. He was followed by Logan Weaver with nine points, Jordon Mesoraco with eight, and Luke Janocha, Darren Pifer, and Ian Miller with two each.
Weaver had five rebounds and Pifer four to lead the Chucks in that department.
The Chucks took control of the ball game early on as they raced out to a 6-0 lead, with four points scored by Triponey and two by Weaver. Elk got on the scoreboard at the 3:05 mark when L. Daghir scored to make it 6-2. Weaver answered with a trey to make it 9-2 with about a minute and a half left in the period. Elk then scored eight straight points with treys by L. Daghir and Simons and a field goal by B. Dahir to give Elk a 10-9 lead. Punxsy's Mesoraco hit a bucket at the buzzer to give the Chucks their final lead of the game by a 11-10 score.
Crowe and Herzing scored to open the second period and give Elk the lead for good at 14-11. Mesoraco hit a foul goal for Punxsy, but Elk responded with a field goal by B. Daghir and a trey by Herzing, 19-12. Weaver scored for Punxsy, but Herzing ended the scoring in the half with two foul goals to give Elk a 21-14 halftime lead.
Gebauer hit a foul goal to open the second half followed by a field goal by Pearsall and two foul goals by Simons, 26-14. A Triponey field goal was answered by a Simons trey, 29-16. Triponey hit a foul goal, then Pearsall and Triponey exchanged treys, 32-20. Gebauer scored for Elk County, then Weaver hit two foul goals for Punxsy, followed by two foul goals by Herzing and a bucket by Miller to make it 36-24 at the end of three quarters.
B. Daghir and Pearsall opened the final period with buckets, 40-24. Punxsy turned a three-point play, but Pearsall answered with a trey, 43-27. Punxsy's Mesoraco hit a couple of field goals, but B. Daghir hit a trey and L. Daghir and Pearsall field goals to make it 50-31. Janocha scored for the Chucks and Jacob for the Crusaders to end the scoring and the game, with ECCHS winning 52-33.
"We have the capability to be a very good team, but right now we need to become more consistent," Straub said. "Tonight's game was a very well-played ball game by the team and this is what we have to continue to do if we hope to have a successful season."
Elk County Catholic is now 7-3 on the season. They are 1-1 in the District Nine League.
The Crusaders will return to action on Friday evening when they travel across town to take on the St. Marys Area High Flying Dutchmen in another District Nine League game. This will be the second meeting of these two squads, as the Crusaders won the first game in the opening round of the Elk County Holiday Tournament at the "Dutch Oven".
The Crusaders turned the ball over 18 times last evening, while the Punxsutawney squad had 22 turnovers.
Punxsutawney Area 33
Corban Cressley 0-0-0-0-0, Alex Fedigan 0-0-0-0-0, Logan Weaver 2-1-2-2-9, Luke Janocha 1-0-0-0-2, Darren Pifer 1-0-0-0-2, Daniel Triponey 3-1-1-2-10, Brodi Lowmaster 0-0-0-2-0, Jordan Mesoraco 3-0-2-4-8, Hunter Tibbs 0-0-0-3-0, Ian Miller 1-0-0-0-2. Totals 11-2-5-13-33.
Ricky Pearsall 3-2-0-0-12, Tyler Herzing 1-1-4-4-9, Darren Simons 0-2-2-2-8, Ben Daghir 3-1-0-0-9, Josh Gebauer 1-0-1-2-3, Luke Daghir 2-1-0-0-7, Ben Crowe 1-0-0-0-2, Eric Wehler 0-0-0-0-0, Brandon Pollick 0-0-0-0-0, Caleb Lecker 0-0-0-1-0, Kevin Kraus 0-0-0-0-0, Michael Jacob 1-0-0-0-2, Mitchel Haberberger 0-0-0-0-0. Totals 12-7-7-11-52.
Score by quarters
Punxsy 11 3 10 11 33
ECCHS 10 12 15 16 52
Elk Catholic won the preliminary game, as the Crusader JVs topped the Punxsutawney JVs by a 41-31 score.
Elk took a 13-8 first-quarter lead, then pushed it to 26-16 at the half. A 7-6 Punsxy edge in the third quarter cut the lead to 32-23. Elk outscored the Chucks 9-8 in the final period to win the game by a 41-31 score.
Punxsy scoring: Tim Pearce 5, Hunter Tibbs 6, Garrett Zimmerman 2, Ian Miller 9, Jesse Venturini 9.
Elk Catholic scoring: Clayton Housler 11, Mitchell O'Neill 0, Alex Herzing 0, Devin Constable 3, Hank Cappiello 3, Scott Reichard 0, Jack Herzing 5, Ben Cortina 2, Mitchell Gahr 0, Brock McCullough 17, Shea Meyer 0.