DuBOIS— The DuBois Area boys basketball team celebrated its Senior Night Tuesday evening, and they couldn’t have sent their graduating players off any better.
Led by an outstanding 34-point performance by senior Nick LaBrasca and a solid team effort from the rest of the roster, DuBois put on one heck of a show for all in attendance and came out on top of the opposing Bradford Owls, 67-47.
Coming off a thrilling 45-44 victory against St. Marys last Friday, the Beavers (9-10) were still riding off the momentum they gained from there. Coupled with the prospect of Senior Night, the DuBois squad had all the motivation and drive to capture the ‘W.’
“It was definitely a great team effort,” said DuBois head coach Scott Creighton. “As a team, it was probably one of our best and complete games of the year, which this is the time of the year to be doing that. So, I couldn’t be more thrilled on how much we’ve improved throughout the season.
“This was probably one of our most complete games overall that we’ve played so far, and the thing is we know we can still get better. That’s the exciting part.”
Things certainly started off well for the DuBois roster in the early moments of the first-half.
Wasting no time on the attack, LaBrasca powered up for a shot on the Beavers’ first possession and drew a foul in the process. Once on the free-throw line, the DuBois senior netted both attempts and gave the Beavers the early 2-0 lead.
Moments later and LaBrasca was at it again, this time taking a pass off of teammate Bryce Bright for a base-line drive to put DuBois up 4-0.
Bradford retaliated on their next possession, when senior Nate Higbie drove through the lanes on his way to cutting the DuBois lead in half at 4-2.
But, sophomore Dylan McCluskey was on the case and got the Beavers up 6-2 with a bucket of his own.
A drive by Kenny Garvey and three more baskets from LaBrasca ensured that DuBois ended the quarter on their terms and with a 17-7 lead.
Bradford opened the scoring up in the second quarter with a drive by junior Adam Boyer, and though the Owls put in a much more impressive second period of play, the quarter was DuBois’ for the taking.
Garvey got things started for the Beavers with a bucket from beyond the field to make the score 20-9, and despite a quick basket from Bradford’s Tyler Gigliotti, the DuBois offense continued to thrive and persevere.
Both LaBrasca and senior Brendon Foley scored from the three-point line to increase the Beavers’ tally to 26-11, and after receiving an additional seven points from LaBrasca and Alex Beers, DuBois went to the locker rooms with a comfortable 33-19 lead.
Despite the substantial lead, there was always the possibility of a Bradford come-back, but Creighton says that his team was determined to maintain their momentum into the second-half.
“You definitely don’t want that let-down emotionally or physically,” Creighton said. “So, for us, we just almost looked at it as if ‘Okay, it’s 0-0, let’s start off and win this half too,’ and that seemed to work.”
The early minutes of the third quarter began on Bradford’s terms, with Kyle Kirk finding teammate Donny Pattison for an easy bucket to make the score 33-21.
But DuBois responded quickly and decisively to snuff out any potential comebacks, as Garvey found LaBrasca down low for a basket to put the Beavers ahead 35-21.
Another bucket and a pair of foul-shots from LaBrasca pulled DuBois away even further at 39-21, and by the end of three, the Beavers were up 49-35.
All DuBois needed was a final solid quarter to take the win, and with a six-point quarter from Beers and four-point inputs by LaBrasca and Garvey, they did just that, prevailing over the Owls by a final score of 67-47.
The DuBois offense proved to be a driving force for the Beavers’ win, as LaBrasca’s game-high 34 points and 17 rebounds helped pave the way to their victory.
Alex Beers also had a solid showing for DuBois, netting 12 points and grabbing nine rebounds of his own, while Garvey also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
However, more important than the win was the night’s festivities, and making sure that the Beavers’ three seniors — LaBrasca, Bright, and Foley —put on a game-winning performance for their home crowd.
“On Senior Night, you hope your guys can play the way they did tonight,” Creighton said about his seniors. “Really, all of these guys are capable of playing that way all the time. But when you’re playing in front of your peers- we had a big student section here tonight, the band was here, the chorus came in and sang the national anthem- it’s something special. So, I’m very proud of them and happy for them that they were able to perform the way that they did.”
DuBois hopes to reach .500 this coming Friday when they travel to Punxsutawney (12-6) to take on the Chucks.