BV Area, EF win but won’t meet in finals
ROSTRAVER TOWNSHIP – Belle Vernon Area and Elizabeth Forward were opening round winners in the James Weir Memorial Tournament Friday.
There won’t be a championship game tonight between the host Leps and Warriors, however.
Since the two Class AAA teams are in the same section, the Warriors – a last minute replacement for Frazier – entered the event with the stipulation they wouldn’t play BVA on either night.
As a result, the Leps will face Ringgold at 7:30 following the 6 p.m. contest between Elizabeth Forward and Charleroi.
Despite playing without three of its top eight players, BV Area turned back Charleroi, 50-41, after new Elizabeth Forward coach Brian Znavor got off to a good start at his new job as a 52-39 winner over Ringgold in the opener.
“I expected it to be a little rough tonight,” said BVA coach John Dudzinski. “It’s a new era and I think we came out a little tight. The key was taking No. 44 (Elijah Obade) out of the game in the second half.
Obade, a 6-7 senior, scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the first half before fouling out with 1:12 remaining.
“Our big guys getting in foul trouble didn’t help,” said Charleroi coach Bill Wiltz referring to Obade and 6-6 sophomore Zack Hooks. “They weren’t able to see enough minutes.”
Charleroi’s poor foul shooting was also a factor.
The Cougars made only two of 12 free throws with Obade missing all six of his and Hooks going one of four.
BVA, meanwhile, missed only three of 15 at the foul line.
Ethan Cieply, a 6-1 junior making his first start, h it five of six free throws including a pair of one-and-ones with under two minutes remaining to stretch a 42-37 lead to 46-37 with 72 seconds remaining.
Josh Pohlot topped the Leps with 15 points while Bo Lustig, who was in early foul trouble after picking up his third personal with 5:18 left in the first half, added 11 points.
The Cougars’ Eric Anderson backed Obade with 11 points including three treys.
“We have to find some offense,” noted Wiltz.
So will Ringgold, which went 10:58 in the second half without scoring a point as Elizabeth tallied 16 straight points to break a 30-30 deadlock.
Trailing 28-21 at halftime, the Rams opened the third quarter by outscoring the Warriors, 9-2, in 2:29 with Dave Bassi getting seven of his game-high 15 point in the spurt.
Bassi, however, didn’t score another point in the final 10:29.
“It was a case of Bassi having to do too much since he also had to rebound,” said Ringgold coach Pete Logan.
“We’re a young team and I think our young kids were a little tight.”
Deren Breitinger came off the bench to score a team-high 12 points for the Warriors while Ryan Styche and Sean Lavelle added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
“Our kids are not accustomed to playing with the lead and than buckled down,” said Znavor. “Breitinger did a tremendous job and was our spark plug.”