The Elk County Catholic Crusaders recorded a 56-47 victory over a very scrappy Bradford Area High School squad on Wednesday evening at the Aaron J. Straub Gymnasium on the Elk Catholic Campus. The game was a District Nine League encounter and upped the ECCHS record in the league to 3-1, while knocking Bradford back to 1-4.
Last night's win was also a milestone win for ECCHS Coach Aaron Straub, as it was his 639th win on the boys' level, making him the winningest coach in District Nine history.
"We played a terrific first quarter tonight, as we came out playing a very aggressive ball game," said Coach Straub. "We need to put four quarters of play together like we exhibited in the first quarter.
"Our goal tonight was to battle and scrap as hard as the Bradford club, and for the most part we did that. Bradford is a good ball club, much better than their record shows. I am happy with the way we played tonight, but we had a few lax moments which allowed the Owls to make a game out of it.
"We will have to put four good quarters of basketball together on Friday night when we take on the improved Johnsonburg Rams."
Tyler Herzing led the Crusaders in the scoring department on Wednesday with 16 points, 10 coming in the third period. Herzing's points came on six field goals and a four-for- five night at the line. Darren Simons and Mitchel Haberberger, who came off the bench, both finished with 10 points, followed by Ben Daghir with eight, Ricky Pearsall with five, Josh Gebauer with four and Luke Daghir with three.
The Owls were paced by Forrest Works with 15 points on six field goals and three foul goals, and Colton Holzwarth with 14 points on a field goal and four treys. Cody Faucher chipped in with eight points, Dan Rinfrette with four, and Chariels Fair and Tyler Wilber with three each.
"Tyler Herzing did a good job of going to the hoop for us tonight, while Josh Gebauer and Mitchel Haberberger both did good jobs on defense for us," noted Straub.
Darren Simons led the Crusaders in rebounds with six, while Ricky Pearsall was next with five and Mitchel Haberberger with three. Works had nine and Faucher seven to pace the Owls.
The Crusaders came out hitting on all cyclinders as they outscored the Owls 22-7 in the opening period. Simons started the scoring for Elk with a field goal, then Works turned a three-point play for the Owls, giving them their first and only lead at 3-2. Simons, Gebauer (2), and Herzing all hit field goals to give Elk a 12-3 lead. Works scored again, but Elk responded with a trey by L. Daghir and a field goal by B. Daghir to make it 17-5. Works hit two foul goals, only to have Haberberger and Simons answer with a field goal and a trey to make it 22-7.
Bradford came out in the second quarter and scored the first eight points to cut the lead to 22-15. At the 3:27 mark, Haberberger scored the first Elk Catholic bucket of the period to make it 24-15. Two more Bradford buckets were followed by a foul goal by Pearsall and a field goal by Haberberger, 27-19. Holzwarth hit a trey for the Owls, but Herzing responded with a three-point play and Haberberger with a field goal to make it 32-22. Faucher connected on the final bucket of the half to cut the lead to 32-24 at the half.
Holzwarth opened the second half with a trey, 32-27. Herzing scored for Elk, but Rinfrette hit a field goal and Holzwarth another trey to make it 34-32. Herzing then scored the next eight points for the Crusaders, followed by a trey by Simons, to make it 45-32. A trey by Fair made it 45-35 but Haberberger ended the third quarter, scoring with a bucket to give Elk Catholic a 47-35 lead going into the final period.
B. Daghir opened the final period with a bucket to extend Elk's lead to 14 points. A bucket by Works and a trey by Holzwarth cut the lead back to nine points, 49-40. Pearsall hit two foul goals, followed by a Works bucket, 51-42. B. Daghir hit two foul goals followed by a Holzwarth bucket, 53-44. Herzing added a foul goal and B. Daghir two more to give Elk a 56-44 lead. Bradford's Wilber scored the final three points on foul shots to make the final score 56-47.
Elk Catholic is now 11-3 on the season and 3-1 in the District Nine League. Bradford slipped to 5-11 on the season and to 1-4 in the league.
The Crusaders will return to action on Friday evening when they travel to Johnsonburg to take on the Johnsonburg Area High Rams in an AML contest. Game time is 6 p.m. for the JVs, with the varsity to follow.
The Crusaders turned the ball over 14 times, while the Owls had 18 turnovers. Elk had nine steals, with Simons and Eric Wehler each getting two.
The Elk County Catholic Cheer Clinic cheerleaders participated in some of the cheers before the game and at halftime of the varsity game last evening.
Bradord Area 47
Charles Fair 0-1-0-0-3, Dan Rinfrette 2-0-0-0-4, Colton Holzwarth 1-4-0-0-14, Cody Faucher 4-0-0-0-8, Forrest Works 7=6-0-3-4-15, Tyler Wilber 0-0-3-6-3. Totals 13-5-6-10-47
Elk Catholic 56
Ricky Pearsall 1-0-3-5-5, Tyler Herzing 6-0-4-5-16, Ben Crowe 0-0-0-0-0, Eric Wehler 0-0-0-0-0, Ben Wortman 0-0-0-0-0, Kevin Kraus 0-0-0-0-0, Darren Simons 2-2-0-0-10, Mitchel Haberberger 5-0-0-0-10, Ben Daghir 2-0-4-4-8, Luke Daghir 0-1-0-0-3, Josh Gebauer 2-0-0-0-4. Totals 18-3-11-14-56
Score by quarters
Bradford 7 17 11 12 47
ECCHS 22 10 15 9 56
Elk JVs win
Elk Catholic's JV squad picked up a 54-43 victory in the preliminary game last evening over the Bradford Owl JVs.
The two teams played evenly in the first period, as the score was tied at 17-all at the end of the quarter. The second period found the Bradford squad outscoring the Crusaders by a 16-14 margin to take a 33-31 lead.
Elk Catholic regained the lead in the third quarter, outscoring Bradford 11-5 to go up by a 42-38 score with one period remaining. In the final stanza Elk outscored the visiting Owls 12-5 to win the game by a 54-43 score.
ECCHS scoring: Clayton Housler 20, Mitchell O'Neill 0, Alex Herzing 3, Devin Constable 0, Hank Cappiello 12, Scott Reichard 0, Jack Herzing 2, Ben Cortina 2, Mitchell Gahr 0, Brock McCullough 13, Shea Meyer 2.
Bradford scoring: Mike Wilber 15, Brandon Teribery 12, David Ackerman 2, Aaron Fishkin 4, Anthony Zimbardi 3, Josh Stauffer 4, Cody Mascho 3.