BROOKVILLE — With a hint of postseason intensity, the Brookville Raiders and Brockway Rovers locked up in a grinder of a championship game at the Brookville Tip-Off Tournament Saturday night.
In the end, it was the Raiders holding off the Rovers as Carter Adams’ 30-foot would-be game-winning 3-pointer misfired as Brookville notched a hard-earned 48-46 win.
“It feels good. I don’t want to be overconfident,” said Raiders first-year coach Dalton Park. “We have two really tough teams coming this week. I believe it’ll be the same or harder. That was a close, tight game so it’s not going to get any easier, that’s for sure.”
Park’s sophomore son Aaron was the tournament’s most valuable player, finishing with a career-high 26 points and 12 rebounds. He made all four of his fourth-quarter free throws. He and junior teammate Trenton Gilhousen were all-tournament picks. Gilhousen finished with nine points and six rebounds. Bryan Dworek had eight points.
It’s the first tournament title for the Raiders in their season-opening event since finishing off a three-peat in 2011.
The Raiders outrebounded the Rovers, 37-18, and shot 50 percent from the field (20-for-40), offsetting their own 19 turnovers.
“I think the rebounding was big because you have to make up for the turnovers,” Park said. “You have to have the extra shots or limit them to one and we hadn’t been doing well at rebounding.”
The Rovers’ Carter Adams, last year’s tournament MVP, and Noah Vokes were all-tournament selections with 17 and 12 points respectively. Adams scored 27 points in the Rovers’ opening win against Union Friday, but was just 6-for-21 from the field against the Raiders. Vokes added a team-high seven rebounds.
“He was killing us, cutting through and getting reverse layups,” Park said of Adams. “I don’t want to use (6-for-21) as a plus because I don’t think we guarded him well. He’s a shifty player and I don’t expect one guy to handle him one-on-one and our offside help didn’t step up and let him continue to get to the other side.”
The Raiders trailed 42-39 with 4:50 left in the game, but a 6-2 run over the next two minutes, which included two free throws following a technical foul on Adams, gave them the lead for good. Trenton Gilhousen’s put-back put the Raiders up 45-44 with 3:21 left.
While the Raiders didn’t relinquish the lead the rest of the way, it certainly wasn’t over. The Rovers missed shots on two straight possessions. Aaron Park’s big offensive rebound and two ensuing free throws put the Raiders up 47-44 with 1:27 left.
Vokes got the Rovers back to within one with a put-back of his own with 1:08 left, but that was it for Brockway’s scoring.
Even after Park was called for charging with 41.1 seconds left, the Rovers had another chance to score but Adams’ missed on a reverse layup and Bryan Dworek hit one of two free throws that set the final margin with 15.7 seconds left.
The Raiders’ Brady Caylor knocked the ball away from Adams and was fouled with 6.6 seconds left. Caylor missed the front-end of a one-and-one to set up a rush down the court that saw Adams come up short on his long 3-pointer.
“Brady sneaked around the back side and got him. That was a big possession there,” Park said.
The finish culminated a winnable game for the Rovers, who were 17-for-49 from the floor.
“We had a couple possessions to pull it out and just didn’t convert,” Rovers head coach Rick Clark said. “We had a couple of good looks on jumpers and they just didn’t fall tonight and not getting some of those second chance opportunities we’ve had in the past hurt us a little bit.”
Brockway led 16-10 after the first quarter, its largest lead of the game. The Raiders outscored the Rovers, 14-6, in the second quarter and led 24-22 at halftime.
Park went down with an ankle injury, but ran it off on two short breaks by the end of the quarter. After he went out the first time, sophomore Logan Byerly made his varsity debut and scored to give the Raiders their biggest lead at 33-28.
“I was really pleased with Logan who came in with a deer in the headlights look but gave me some really good minutes,” Park said. “I saw some good things from him. That really helped us, because if we didn’t have him, that whole game could have shifted.”
Park finished the game and shook off an opening game that saw him score six points with six turnovers.
“Last night he apologized for the way he played and said it wouldn’t happen again,” Coach Park said. “I thought he came out with a purpose tonight. I’d like to see him do some more shooting, but it was much better tonight.”
“We were pretty good defensively, but we let Park get to the hole and get too deep on a consistent basis,” Clark said. “We have to try to get him to kick it out and find other guys there. I thought our guys moved the ball well.”
The Rovers host DuBois Wednesday.
“Both teams played extremely hard tonight. It was a well-played game and that’s a March-type game here in December,” Clark added. “It’ll be a growing experience and we’ll learn from it and work on knocking down some of those shots because we had some good ones along with tightening up some things.”
The Raiders visit Ridgway Wednesday before traveling to Elk County Catholic Friday in their District 9 League opener.
“I’m very pleased,” Park said of his team’s win over Brockway. “They gave me everything they had. That’s all I can ask. When you leave the floor, win or lose, know you gave me everything you got. I might not be happy, but I’ll be satisfied if you do that. That’s what they did, every single one.”
Union beat Moniteau, 45-39, in the consolation game. Lucas Bowser scored 26 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead the Knights. He and Moniteau’s Jared Lominski, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds, were also all-tournament picks.