West Branch boys go undefeated in MVL with win over Curwensville|
Thursday, February 14, 2013
By Jaclyn Yingling Sports Editor
CURWENSVILLE - The Curwensville and West Branch boys basketball teams played without their top scorers on Wednesday night in the regular season finale for both teams.
The Tide were without guard Tanner Elensky, who suffered an eye injury during an overtime win against Kane on Tuesday.
The Warriors were playing their second game without team captain and 1,000-point scorer Parker Emigh, who tore his ACL in a game against Juniata Valley.
In the end West Branch was able to fill the hole better, coming out on top, 63-49, to finish the Moshannon Valley League slate undefeated at 8-0.
"Curwensville has been playing pretty good ball lately," said Warriors head coach Danny Clark. "They have a good junior class and they are going to be tough next year. With Tanner being hurt, it took a lot from them. But they played tough.
"It was a good Mo Valley League game. Our goal was to be undefeated in the league this year and I'm proud of the kids. Now we have to look to districts."
Curwensville's Brett Gardner got things going early for the hosts, knocking down two buckets, including a three to give them a 5-0 lead.
West Branch responded with a three from Kody Trude before Gardner hit another trey, putting the score at 8-3.
The teams traded points back and forth with the Tide ending the first quarter with a 16-15 advantage.
Gardner had 10 of those points, finishing the night with 22 points.
"The last three games, Brett has averaged 23 points a game," said Tide head coach Shane Pentz. "He really shot the ball well down the stretch. Hopefully, with a little more work in the offseason we can get him a little more consistent throughout the year.
"When he is shooting the ball well, he is tough to guard."
West Branch took the lead with an Austin Krise jumper to start the second quarter. Krise had seven points in the frame, while Mike Pennington had six.
Krise finished the game with 10 points and seven rebounds. Pennington netted 19 points to go with six assists and five steals.
The Warriors led 30-27 at halftime.
Curwensville didn't back down, however, going on a 7-0 to start the third quarter to take a 34-30 lead.
But West Branch responded with a 13-0 run, regaining the lead, 43-34, after Pennington's three-point play.
"The start of that third quarter they (Curwensville) came out and had a big run," said Clark. "I had Brandon (Zwick), Skyler (Krise), Austin, Michael and Nate Kerlin in there and they got the guys going. The starters went back out and pushed it in the fourth quarter.
"That was a great last 10 minutes for us. We started that third quarter poorly, but finished strong."
Curwensville got as close as five points in the final frame, but West Branch turned on the jets to end the game on a 7-0 run to set the final at 63-49.
"Offensively without Tanner tonight, we tried to go big to have an advantage inside," Pentz said. "With the way they pressed we were a guard short and that affected our offense. West Branch took advantage of the mismatches on the floor."
The Warriors also took advantage of rebounds in the fourth quarter, as both Jarrett Rockey and Kaiden Koch pulled down some important boards.
"It takes them awhile to get in the game rebounding-wise," said Clark. "Jarrett and Kaiden do things that you just don't see in the stats. You may see a couple of rebounds, but they do so much more."
Rockey finished the night with five rebounds and four points.
West Branch's high scorer on the night was Kody Trude, who tallied 21 points and five rebounds on the night. Trude was 5-of-6 from the foul line, including two critical free throws to help the Warriors catch up in the first quarter.
"Mike and Kody stepped up big tonight," said Clark. "Mike had a couple of steals and played awesome tonight. Kody hit his free throws and did a great job for us."
Curwensville was led by Gardner's 22 points and seven rebounds. Austin Jacobson netted eight points, while Kyle Johns and Trey Rauckhorst each had seven. Rauckhorst also had five rebounds.
Curwensville finished the season at 6-16 overall and 3-5 in the MVL.
West Branch improved to 12-10 overall and 8-0 in the MVL. The Warriors travel to Hollidaysburg Senior High School on Monday to face Tyrone in the first round of the District 6 Class AA playoffs.
"We are 7-1 in our last games," Clark said. "Our only loss was to Juniata Valley. So we are playing very well. Hopefully, they continue to keep growing and don't settle.
"Our goal was to get to districts. But I don't want the kids to say, ‘We are almost done.' They worked hard all season and we need to play hard for however long we have to play. Don't just settle for being there."
West Branch won the junior varsity game, 45-36. The Warriors were led by Brandon Zwick's 19 points. Teammate Skyler Krise notched 10 points. The Tide were paced by Jonathan Miller's 15 points.
Martin 0 0-0 0, S. Krise 1 0-0 2, Clark 0 0-0 0, A. Krise 4 0-0 10, Zwick 2 0-1 5, Pennington 9 1-1 19, Eboch 0 0-0 0, Rockey 1 2-2 4, Koch 0 0-0 0, Trude 7 5-6 21, N. Kerlin 1 0-0 2, Bumbarger 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 8-10 63.
Gardner 9 0-2 22, Johns 3 1-2 7, Rauckhorst 3 1-2 7, Olson 0 0-0 0, Jacobson 4 0-0 8, Bloom 0 0-2 0, Stephenson 0 0-2 0, Benamati 0 0-0 0, Kurtz 2 0-0 5. Totals: 21 2-10 49.
Three-pointers: A. Krise 2, Trude 2, Zwick; Gardner 4, Kurtz.
Score by Quarters
West Branch 15 15 17 16-63
Curwensville 16 11 13 9-49