CLARION - The Elk County Catholic Crusaders advanced to the District 9 Class A championship game with a 58-47 victory over the DuBois Central Cardinals in a game played at the Waldo Tippin Gymnasium at Clarion University.
The Crusaders will now meet the Union Knights Saturday night at 8 p.m. at Clarion University for the D9-A title. DuBois Central will square off against North Clarion at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the consolation game set for Clarion University. Union got by North Clarion 49-47 last night at CUP.
The Crusaders were able to break open a close game midway through the fourth quarter, when they went on an 8-2 run to take a 55-39 lead with 1:53 left in the game.
“We got a little lackadaisical and sluggish in the second quarter,” said ECCHS coach Aaron Straub.
Defensively, we had a much better plan tonight than Saturday night with the post play. But the bottom line was that we made a couple of shots which changed the way they had to play defense.”
The Crusaders were led offensively by Darren Simons with 17 points on one two, four threes and a three-for-five night from the foul line. Mitchel Haberberger added 15 points on five field goals and a five-for-seven night from the foul line.
DuBois Central was led by Dan Fitzpatrick with 16 points on four twos, two threes and a two-for-three night from the foul line. Chris Marshall and Taylor Pentz each added 11 points. Pentz scored his points on three twos, a three and a two-for-two night from the foul line. Marshall scored his points on five field goals and a one-for-three night from the foul line.
The Crusaders outrebounded the Cardinals 24-20. Ben Daghir led ECC with seven points, while Marshall led DCC with 10 caroms.
Tyler Herzing and Fitzpatrick traded buckets to start the game. A field goal by Simons and two foul shots by Haberberger gave ECC the 6-2 lead. Pentz cut it to 6-4 before Pearsall hit a foul shot, Herzing a three and Pearsall a two, 12-4. Dan O’Connor scored for ECC, with Herzing scoring for Elk. Brad Gallagher scored to cut Elk’s lead to 14-8 at the end of one quarter.
Haberberger scored on a putback to make it 16-8. A bucket by A.J. Nesbit and a foul shot by O’Connor cut it to 16-11. Pearsall hit a three, giving ECC the 19-11 lead. DuBois Central went on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 19. Luke Daghir’s field goal gave the Crusaders the 21-19 halftime lead.
Marshall opened the second half by tying the game at 21. Ben Daghir made it 23-21 before Pentz sank two foul shots, 23-23. A three by Pearsall made it 26-23. Marshall cut it to 26-25. Simons and Fitzpatrick traded threes. Ben Daghir scored on a putback and Herzing added a foul shot, 32-28. Marshall scored for DCC before Simons hit a three, 35-30. Pentz scored for DCC, 35-32. Haberberger sank a foul shot and Luke Daghir scored a field goal with five seconds left, 38-32. Pentz hit a three at the buzzer, 38-35.
Luke Daghir increased Elk’s lead to 40-35. Haberberger converted a three-point play, 43-35. Fitzpatrick sank a foul shot before Simons hit a three, 46-36. Marshall converted a foul shot, 46-37. Elk went on an 8-0 run as Haberberger scored six and Ben Daghir two, 54-37, with 2:48 left. Gallagher scored for DCC, 54-39. A foul shot by Haberberger made it 55-39 with 1:53 left. Fitzpatrick hit a three, 55-42. Marshall hit a field goal and Fitzpatrick converted a three-point play, 57-47. Simons made one of two from the foul line, making the final score 58-47 in favor of the Crusaders.
“Union is very well-coached, very scrappy. They will be charged up to play. We need to make sure we match their intensity,” Straub said.
The Crusaders are now 23-4 on the season.
The Cardinals turned the ball over 20 times to Elk Catholic’s seven.
The Crusaders will meet the Union Knights Saturday night at 8 p.m., the nightcap of a six-game day at Clarion.
A.J. Nesbitt 1-0-0-0-2, Chris Marshall 5-0-1-3-11, Brock LaBue 0-0-0-0-0, Jake Krause 0-0-0-0-0, Brad Gallagher 2-0-0-0-4, Taylor Pentz 3-1-2-2-11, Dan O’Connor 1-0-1-1-3, Dan Fitzpatrick 4-2-2-3-16. Totals 16-3-6-9-47.
Ricky Pearsall 1-1-1-4-6, Tyler Herzing 2-1-1-5-8, Ben Crowe 0-0-0-0-0, Eric Wehler 0-0-0-0-0, Brandon Pollick 0-0-0-0-0, Caleb Lecker 0-0-0-0-0, Ben Wortman 0-0-0-0-0, Kevin Kraus 0-0-0-0-0, Michael Jacob 0-0-0-0-0, Darren Simons 1-4-3-5-17, Mitchel Haberberger 5-0-5-7-15, Ben Daghir 4-0-0-0-8, Luke Daghir 2-0-0-0-4, Josh Gebauer 0-0-0-0-0. Totals 15-6-10-21-58.
Score by quarters
DCCHS 8 11 16 12 47
ECCHS 14 7 17 20 58