HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Hollidaysburg boys basketball team jumped out to a quick 14-3 lead over DuBois Monday night and never looked back in an 84-51 victory in a District 6/9 Class 5A semifinal game.
Austin Finochio sparked that electric start, as the Golden Tiger senior scored all 14 Hollidaysburg points, including 4 3-pointers, to force DuBois head coach Scott Creighton to call timeout just over three minutes into the game.
Finochio scored a team-high 19 points to lead a quartet of Golden Tigers in double figures. He hit five of the Golden Tigers 12 treys on the night. Hollidaysburg had nine different players score in the game.
The Beavers appeared to settle in some after that stoppage and played even with the Golden Tigers the remainder of the quarter, trailing 24-14 after one.
DuBois then cut the lead to single digits (26-17) on a 3-pointer by senior Nick LaBrasca at the 5:46 mark of the second quarter. However, that’s as close as the Beavers got, as Hollidaysburg closed the half on a 14-8 spurt to take a 40-25 lead into halftime.
The Golden Tigers then put the game away with a 22-7 third quarter that gave Hollidaysburg a commanding 30-point lead (62-32) after three quarters.
The fourth turned into a back-and-forth battle, with the Golden Tigers winning the quarter 22-19 to push their winning margin to 33 points.
Junior Kenny Garvey caught fire in the fourth for DuBois, scoring 13 of his game-high 25 points. LaBrasca also put together a nice night in his final game as a Beaver with 18 points. Garvey (5) and LaBrasca (3) combined for eight of DuBois’ nine 3-pointers.
Senior Brendon Foley hit the other. Foley netted seven points in his final high school game, while fellow senior Bryce Bright went 1 of 2 at the line. That quarter of Beavers — Garvey, LaBrasca, Foley and Bright — combined to score all 51 DuBois points.
“They (Hollidaysburg) shot it really well, and you have to give them credit,” said Creighton. “That No. 2, Finochio, he had 14 of 15 points in the first quarter, and he really carried them right off the bat.
“That was really the only thing I thought we could do — if we could keep that (outside shooting) from happening I felt we had a much better shot in the game. But, I give our kids a lot of credit. We battled the whole way. We didn’t win, but we didn’t give up and we didn’t quit, which I’m very proud of them for that.
“I look at these guys at the beginning of the year, and Nick LaBrasca was the only one who had significant varsity playing experience, let alone starting. You look at that, and how far we’ve come, and I told them I’m as proud of this group as I am of the 2012 group that won the district title and had a great year when Coach (Tanner) Gooden was playing.
“We probably overachieved, definitely more than most people gave us credit for. We had people saying we wouldn’t win a league game, and these kids really used that as fuel for the fire this year. We’re obviously disappointed we lost, but I’m still very proud of the season they put together.”
Creighton also had high praise for his three seniors — LaBrasca, Foley and Bright.
“Nick (LaBrasca) has been solid for us all year long,” said Creighton. “We’ve needed him to lead us in scoring and rebounding, and he has for the most part. Brendon has been able to come off the bench and provide us good, sound defense, and tonight I was so happy for him because he was able to knock down some shots.
“Bryce maybe didn’t have the offensive output tonight that he’s had in the past, but he had a couple games where he’s had 15, 16 points and he had 26 in a recent game. And Bryce hadn’t played in two and half year. Those guys were great examples as senior leaders this year.”
Finochio drilled a 3-pointer 20 seconds into the game, foreshadowing a hot-shooting night from behind the arc for the Golden Tigers. He scored Hollidaysburg’s first 14 points in the first 3:01 of the game to put his team up 14-3, leading to Creighton’s timeout.
The teams then traded scores the remainder of the opening quarter, with Hollidaysburg ending up with a 10-point lead (24-14). Golden Tiger Sam Servello and LaBrasca traded treys in the final 40 seconds, with LaBrasca’s coming just before the first-quarter buzzer sounded.
LaBrasca scored nine of his 18 points in the opening eight minutes, while Finochio had 16 of his 19 in the first. Servello netted eight of his 16 points in the first.
Hollidaysburg’s Ethan Haupt opened the scoring in the second before a trey from LaBrasca made it 26-17. Haupt quickly rattled off six straight points to push the Golden Tiger lead back to 12 at 32-20 with 3:18 left in the half. Haupt scored 10 of his 13 points in the second quarter.
The 3-point contest continued from there, with Foley and Garvey each hitting from behind the arc for DuBois and JJ Collins for Hollidaysburg. Collins also added an old-fashion three-point play to help the Tigers take a 15-point lead (40-25) into the break.
Golden Tiger Mason Marks and Garvey traded scores to open the second half, with Garvey’s shot coming from long range to make it 42-28. That’s as close as DuBois got the rest of the way as Hollidaysburg outscored DuBois 30-4 over the final 5:29 of the third to go up 62-32.
Marks had six points in the third, as did Garvey.
LaBrasca scored the first six points of the fourth on a trey and three-point play before Garvey scored the Beavers’ final 13 points of the game during a back-and-forth final quarter. Garvey hit three 3-pointers in the final quarter on his way to a 25-point night.
Hollidaysburg had six different players score in the fourth. Dominic Frucella had six, while Servello had five and Marks four.
DuBois finished its season with a 10-13 record.
Hollidaysburg (16-6) advances to District 6/9 Class 5A championship game Saturday night at Mt. Aloysius College against Central Mountain.