Home » Uncategorized » Crusaders set up meeting No. 5 with Rams, get by Venango Catholic, 47-39

Crusaders set up meeting No. 5 with Rams, get by Venango Catholic, 47-39

By Rich Rhoades

BROOKVILLE — Survive and advance was the theme of the night for the Elk County Catholic Crusaders.

They certainly did a good job on Venango Catholic’s 6-foot-11 junior Devin Zagar and no Viking reaching double figures in scoring, but the top-seeded Crusaders certainly didn’t breeze to an easy win against a pesky VC squad that hung around most of the night.

The Crusaders pulled away late, notching a state-playoff clinching 47-39 win over the Vikings in the District 9 Class A quarterfinals Friday night at Brookville Area High School.

But clearly, it’s the next game that concerns the Crusaders the most in next week’s semifinals: No. 4 seed Johnsonburg. The defending champion Rams are 3-1 against the Crusaders this year, including a 59-41 win in the Allegheny Mountain League Championship game on Feb. 15.

The Crusaders have lost 10 games the last two years, eight of them coming to Johnsonburg.

“We hung on. I told the kids we weren’t going to do a lot of evaluation (of this game),” Straub said after beating the Vikings. “We’re going to start preparing for the next game.”

A strong first-half effort from 6-foot-5 senior forward Cody Huff was a big key to the Crusaders’ win. He scored 17 points with nine rebounds as the Crusaders took a 23-17 lead into halftime. He wound up with 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Venango Catholic (12-12) outscored ECC, 6-3, in the third quarter and the Crusaders took a 26-23 lead into the fourth quarter. From there, ECC outscored VC, 21-16, going 11-of-17 from the line in the final eight minutes. Huff’s traditional three-point play with 3:48 left gave the Crusaders their largest lead at 39-29.

Zagar, who came in averaging 18.3 points per game coming off a 26-point game in a playoff win over North Clarion, was never comfortable shooting the ball in the post. He was just 1-for-4 from the field until scoring two baskets in a 14-second stretch in the final 1:07. He finished 3-of-7 from the field and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC 47, VENANGO CATHOLIC 39

Score By Quarters

VC                        11            6            6            16            –            39

ECC                        14            9            3            21            –            47

Venango Catholic – 39

Scott Toy 3-11 3-5 9, Jacob Hale 4-11 0-2 8, Jonah Jones 2-5 0-0 6, Brady Kingston 2-4 3-5 7, Devin Zagar 3-7 0-3 6, Luke Plumer 1-1 0-0 3. Totals: 15-39 6-15 39.

Elk Co. Catholic – 47

Mitchell Struble 2-10 1-3 5, Ian Herzing 0-3 0-1 0, Brandon Schlimm 3-9 1-2 7, Ivan Wortman 0-3 6-8 6, Cory Huff 9-20 1-3 22, Colton Lecker 0-0 0-0 0, Dan Singer 2-6 3-5 7, Ryan Seelye 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 16-52 12-22 47.

3-pointers: Venango Catholic 2-12 (Toy 0-3, Hale 0-4, Jones 2-4, Kingston 0-1), Elk Co. Catholic 3-12 (Struble 0-2, Herzing 0-1, Schlimm 0-1, Wortman 0-1, Huff 3-6, Seelye 0-1). Rebounds: Venango Catholic 36 (Zagar 13), Elk Co. Catholic 34 (Huff 11). Turnovers: Venango Catholic 17, Elk Co. Catholic 9.

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