ST. MARYS — The high school version of March Madness nearly came a couple days early on Tuesday evening at St. Marys High School.
The No. 6 Brockway boys basketball team came within a few possessions of knocking off second-seeded Coudersport, but the Falcons scored the final six points over the last minute of the game to edge the Rovers, 72-67, in the District 9 Class AA semifinals.
“I can’t be more proud of our guys. They put everything they had into it,” said Brockway coach Rick Clark. “We wanted to make them earn their points and not give them the easy ones. Our defense did a great job on a team that’s going to score a lot of points.
“We limited them to five threes. I think if somebody would have said that, I would’ve said, ‘You’re nuts. They’re going to hit more than that.’
“It was a great effort by both teams. They made a couple more plays than we did down the stretch. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Coudersport is now 21-3 on the season as they will face No. 1 Ridgway in the district championship game later this week. Ridgway defeated No. 5 Clarion, 44-24, in the other semifinal on Tuesday.
Brockway (12-13) will play Clarion in the third place game this week for a spot in the PIAA Tournament, which starts on March 10 in Class AA.
The Rovers fell to Clarion, 62-55, in the last game of the regular season earlier this month.
“It was up and down, fast-paced,” said Clark of the last game. “We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we can. I think it will be a good matchup. We just have to find a way to give the same kind of defensive effort and intensity tonight, and I think we’ll be okay.”
The fourth quarter alone saw 13 lead changes in a punch-counter punch type of game.
With 1:03 left, Brockway’s Alec Freemer hit a three-pointer to his team a 67-66 lead.
However, the Falcons’ Derek Keglovits hit a layup down at the other end of the court and his team would not give the lead back.
Jared Green hit the first of two free throws with 31 seconds left, but missed the second and Coudersport got the offensive rebound.
Owen Chambers, who led Coudersport with 32 points on the night, hit both free throws to give his team a 71-67 lead to with 26.7 seconds left.
Chambers also hit one more at the end to seal the game with 8.8 seconds left.
Brockway jumped out to an 11-3 lead to start the game, but Coudersport grabbed the lead by the end of the first quarter, 17-14.
Chambers hit a pair of free throws with 3:16 left in the first half to give Coudy a 25-23 lead, and the Rovers didn’t see the lead again until a Carter Adams three-pointer with 4:05 to play in the third quarter gave the Rovers a 37-35 advantage.
Adams had 16 points to lead the Rovers, while Noah Vokes had 14. Jon Wood had 12, and Zane Puhala had 11.
After Chambers’ 32 for Coudy, Jared Green put in 14 and Hayden Keck chipped in 12.
Both games for both teams later this week are at a day, time and location to be determined.