DuBOIS — The DuBois Central Catholic boys basketball team earned their best win of the season so far on Wednesday evening, using an early 19-4 run on their way to a 53-42 win over Brockway at the Varischetti Sports Complex.
The Cardinals’ Justin Miknis led the way for the Cardinals with 26 points on the night. All of those points came in three quarters before being limited with shooting after suffering a finger injury in the fourth quarter.
Miknis got his effort going early as he scored 10 of his team’s 19 points in the first quarter. The junior hit a pair of three-pointers, with the second giving his team a 16-4 lead and forcing the Rovers to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, the shots kept falling from long distance for DCC as Thomas Grecco drilled a three to give the Cardinals a 19-4 lead.
However, Brockway needed just two minutes through the rest of the quarter to get the deficit back to just six points. Carter Adams made a layup to start the run before hitting his first and only three-pointer of the night.
Zane Puhala had a layin with 12 seconds to go in the first, and Noah Vokes made a layup off a turnover just before the buzzer for the end of the first quarter sounded with DCC holding a 19-13 lead.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” said DCC coach Dom Varacallo. “The guys were excited to play today. They really came out with fire. We just played really well. Credit to Brockway though. They came right back with a 19-6 run right after that.”
“It didn’t help that we put ourselves in a hole,” said Brockway coach Rick Clark. “We got it all the way back to six at the end of the quarter, so we did a good job fighting back.
“We just had a few breakdowns whenever we would get it close. We lost shooters a few times, especially early. We lost some guys late. They made their free throws. And I think we missed some easy opportunities tonight that didn’t help our cause offensively.”
Although the Rovers never led in the game, they got their closest deficit in the middle of the second quarter at 25-23 with 1:36 left in the first half. A pair of Puhala free throws finished their 19-6 run to get the deficit back to two.
However, Miknis hit his third trey of the night with just over a minute left, and also added a three-point play with 11 seconds left.
Brockway led 31-23 at the break.
“He’s an excellent player,” said Clark. “We know he’s the go-to guy. He makes them go. I thought we lost him a few times. He had a big game for them tonight.”
“We had an up-and-down first half,” said Varacallo. “Our guys really focused on staying consistent in the second half. Slow and steady won the race today.”
Brockway got the DCC lead back to five on two separate occasions in the third quarter, but that was as close as the Rovers got from there.
Miknis made a couple buckets late in the third quarter, sandwiched around a John Swalligan layup to give Central a 41-30 lead after three quarters.
Brockway’s Anthony Esposito started off the fourth quarter with a three and Adams hit a jumper later in the quarter to get to within seven.
DCC’s Peter Downer also drew a foul off a layup later in the quarter, which gave his team a 46-35 lead with 3:50 to play.
Downer scored six points off the bench for the Cardinals.
“Peter Downer really stepped up today,” said Varacallo. “Just a gamer mentality. You can see his progression. Definitely a good athlete. He gives us the physicality we’ve been lacking the last couple years.”
Brockway put Grecco on the foul line nine times in the fourth quarter, with the senior hitting six of them to put the game away for DCC.
Grecco scored 13 for the Cardinals and added six rebounds. Miknis had double digits in rebounds giving him a double-double on the night.
Adams had 13 points to lead the Rovers, while Vokes had 10.
Central improved to 4-6 on the season, while Brockway is now 4-4.
“It’s one of those program-turning wins,” said Varacallo. “We haven’t had a big win in a few years. To come in and believe that we were going to win and actually follow through with our actions, I expect us to carry this momentum going forward. I’m really proud of the guys. They laid it all out on the floor and did what they needed to do.”
Both teams are scheduled to play Friday, weather permitting. Central hosts Elk County Catholic, while Brockway travels to Curwensville.
Brockway will also host Moniteau on Saturday evening.