BROOKVILLE — Going into Saturday night’s Brookville Tip-Off Tournament Championship game against host Brookville, the Brockway Rovers were on quite a roll.
After two 20-plus wins in cruising to last year’s title at Brookville, the Rovers opened with another rout, this time in a 67-39 win over Union.
Brockway squared off against Brookville, which also won its opener in a 34-20 win over Moniteau. In Saturday afternoon’s consolation game, Union held off Moniteau for a 45-39 win to claim third place.
In Brockway’s win over Union, things were decided quite early as the Rovers raced out to an 18-3 first-quarter lead and they finished off a 16-0 to get it to 21-3 before building a 36-15 lead by halftime.
Carter Adams, last year’s tournament most valuable player, got hot after the first-quarter run and finished with a game-high 29 points. Adams scored four points in the first quarter, but had 11 in the second quarter and wound up making 9 of 17 shots from the field to go along with seven rebounds, five steals and five assists.
“He has the experience, our most experienced guy and has been through the wars,” Rovers head coach Rick Clark said. “I think especially early on, we’re going to lean on that. He shot the ball really well tonight and that gets the other guys confidence, they knock down some jumpers and it’s contagious.”
But it was the defensive pressure that set the tone early and often. The Rovers helped the Knights commit seven first-quarter turnovers, 13 by halftime and 21 for the game.
“We really aren’t a big team, but we do have some good athletes with some quickness and we have to use that to our advantage this season,” Clark said. “Following last year when we had success with the press and up-tempo style, we wanted to continue that this year. Even though we have some new guys plugged into that press, we played it really well with traps, guys sinking back to the middle, getting tips and steals and I thought we rotated really well.”
And the Rovers didn’t turn it over either, just seven overall.
“We didn’t turn the ball over, so if we can force turnovers like that and keep ours in the single-digits … I thought guys moved the ball well, found open guys and played unselfishly and we knocked down some shots,” Clark said.
Noah Vokes also reached double figures for the Rovers with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and hauled down six rebounds.
Union put two players in double-figure scoring. Senior 1,000-point scorer Lucas Bowser finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds while sophomore Luke Bowser had 10 points.
In Friday’s second game, the Raiders beat the Warriors in head coach Dalton Park’s debut. The Warriors’ slow, deliberate pace set the game up for a defensive battle on both sides of the floor and in the end, it was the Raiders who gradually pulled away from the stubborn visitors.
With Brookville leading 25-20 after Ethan McDeavitt’s basket got the Warriors to within five points at the 2:22 mark of the third quarter, the Raiders threw shutout defense from there, outscoring Moniteau 9-0 in the fourth quarter.
“Give them credit,” Park said. “Moniteau played defense themselves and they gave all that they had for three quarters and honestly fell short at the end because they were a little winded and we decided to to pull it back and play the stall game. Credit to them and their coaches. They gave their coaches everything they could.”
The Warriors played five players for most the whole game and frustrated the Raiders at times. But in the end, the Raiders did make 12 of only 23 shots taken from the field as senior A.J. Lachnicht led them with nine points.
“They were overplaying our guards and we were able to get a couple back screens and rebounds and putbacks that helped us,” Park said. “Being in a tight game, their strategy was to keep it close and see what happens in the end. It almost worked if a couple possessions go the wrong way.”
Freshman Jack Krug scored eight points while Trenton Gilhousen and Aaron Park scored six points apiece. Bryan Dworek scored just four points, but had five rebounds and three assists. Gilhousen grabbed four boards.
But the story was the defense, which limited the Warriors to 8-of-33 shooting (25.8 percent) and 20 turnovers, along with the final 10:22 of the game a scoreless effort.
“All of them. Not some of the time, it was all-time-time defense,” Park said of his eight-man rotation’s defensive effort. “I was very proud of the guys. They worked hard for three weeks to get here. We pushed them. They were getting tired and tonight they understand why we pushed so hard to get into shape and it paid off. If we weren’t in shape tonight, we wouldn’t have won that game.”