By Corey J. Corbin
Allied News Sports Correspondent
MERCER COUNTY AREA —
FARRELL — A lot of attention gets paid to Lakeview senior standouts Dalton Boggs and Casey Greggs and rightly so, but the Sailors are moving on in the District 10 playoffs thanks to Coty Gander and Brandon Rice.
Gander (13) and Rice (6) combined for 19 rebounds as the comparatively undersized Sailors held a 13 rebound advantage to lift Lakeview to a 48-37 victory in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals at Farrell High School’s E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium Friday evening.
“The effort on the defensive boards was the difference in the game,” Lakeview coach Gary Burke said. “We knew going into the game that our post players had to beat their post players. We had to have a better game out of Coty and Brandon than they had out of their guys.
“I can’t give enough credit to Coty and Brandon for going out there and dominating on both ends of the floor. The offensive boards by Brandon Rice in the first quarter really got us off to a great start. Coty followed suit. Coty loves playing down here at Farrell. He had a great down here in the first round of the playoffs last year against Fairview and followed that up with a wonderful effort tonight. I’m really proud of those two guys and how they came out to play.”
Behind Gander and Rice’s efforts on the glass, Lakeview held a 35-22 advantage on the glass with Zach VanDusen (7) and Casey Greggs (5) also contributing.
“We had to box them out,” Rice said. “The key for us was to stay in front of them and not let them get the boards. With them being like 6-5 if we can keep them off the boards, the (Lakeview) guards can get the rebounds. As as we kept them off (the glass), we did our jobs.”
With the win, the Sailors (20-3) faced Mercyhurst Prep in the D-10 semifinals Tuesday evening at Mercyhurst Prep. The game was completed too late for publication in today’s Allied News.
Lakeview jumped out to a 14-7 lead after the first quarter, but limped into the second half, nursing just a 22-21 cushion.
The third quarter featured 8 lead changes and a tie before the Sailors used a 11-0 run to put the game away in the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run that started in the third.
Lakeview held a 12-3 edge on the boards in the final stanza, while forcing the Rockets into missing all 7 three-pointers and 5-of-7 from inside the arc.
“Our movement was better in the second half,” Burke said. “We were pretty stagnant in the first half. We wanted to go 1-on-1 in the first half. Fortunately for us, we got the big men to clean up the boards for us.
“We worked really hard this week in practice on the screen-and-roll. I’ve really got to give the kids credit for doing a lot of communicating and getting over that screen-and-roll. Number 31 (Corey Ciccarelli) is such a great shooter off the screen. We preached to the kids all week about getting a hand in his face. I’ve got to give it to Casey Greggs for using 6-6 length to create some problems for Ciccarelli. He’s a great shooter and a great basketball player.”
The win lifted the pressure off the Sailors, who are now guaranteed at least two more games.
“Driving on the bus ride down here, I was thinking ‘How lousy would that be to go home 19-4 and have nothing to show for it,’ ” Burke said. “We got a real exciting win for the kids. We have the opportunity to spend another week together out on the floor.”
Dalton Boggs led Lakeview with 20 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds, while Rice totaled 14 points.
“Everybody did something great tonight to help us win this game,” Burke said. “Brandon really set the tone for us on the offensive end. (Rice) finished as well as he has all year. That’s what we expect out of Brandon. He was the sixth man last year that got about 4 minutes of time in our first playoff game last year and here he is a big, strong dominating junior for us.
“Everything starts and stops with Dalton. My buddy Jeff Engstrom, who has taught and coached at Lakeview for 33 years, said Dalton Boggs is the best penetrator that Lakeview has ever had. That’s a tall order and a great compliment for Dalton.”
For the game, Lakeview made 17-of-39 shots from the field, 13-of-17 from the line and just 1-of-10 from downtown.
“It was a good win,” Rice said. “Everybody was rusty, but we were still able to get it though. We’re guaranteed another two games. We’ll take that.”
NOTES: Lakeview committed just 11 turnovers. … The game featured 12 lead changes and 5 ties. … Jayce Corklin led Titusville with 11 points. … Casey Greggs had 7 points. … VanDusen had 4 steals, while Gander had 3 steals. … Titusville managed just 2 freebies, making just 1. … The Rockets (17-6) were 16 for 43 from the field and 4 for 13 from behind the three-point line. … Tyler Copeland had 7 rebounds for Titusville.
ä Villa Maria 56, Grove City 13 — At Gannon University, Erie, the Lady Victors (21-2) led 11-1 after 8 minutes of play and 31-5 at the break and rolled into the semifinals with the win over the Lady Eagles (13-10).
Karlee McBride fired in 18 points to lead Villa, Lindsey Mifsud scored 14 and Leah
Bennett bucketed 10 points. McBride is the sister of former Villa Maria great Kayla McBride, who now plays college hoops for the Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame.
Jordyn Wyllie was the leading scorer for GC with 7 points. The lone senior on the Grove City squad this season was Kennedy Young.
ä Mercyhurst Prep 36. Slippery Rock 31 — The Lady Rockets were eliminated from playoff contention.
No details were submitted on the game.
ä Mercer 45, Girard 34 — Lexie Arkwright annexed 7 of her game-high 24 points during the 4th frame, and the Lady M’s manufactured 11-for-16 free-throw marksmanship during the final 8 minutes.
Mercer made 20 of 28 freebies (71.4 percent), in all, led by Arkwrights 8-for-10 accuracy.
“This is absolutely an upset,” admitted 2nd-year Mercer mentor Cook, in deference to legendary Erie County coach Larry Seneta. “They’re a great team. That is a strong league up there, and I was, by no means, with them being in the third (seed) position, thinking ...
“ ... But we’ve been doing this all year long.
“We lack height, but we have athleticism, we have shooters, and we had the biggest heart (Saturday), and we have for a long time,” Cook continued. “That’s all I ask for. (Opposing teams) can beat us in height, but they can’t beat us in heart.”
Arkwright orchestrated Mercer’s wire-to-wire win with a 24-point, 11-rebound double-double, while Megan McKinney and Alexis Mills evenly divided an additional 14 markers for Mercer (17-6). Arkwright added a game-high 11 rebounds, also.
“Compared to last year she absolutely, positively, has just grown as a team player,” Cook praised. “She’s scoring more points this year than she did last year ... she goes after every loose ball ...”
The Lady M’s mustered only 11-for-32 (34.3) shooting from the field and Mercer made 18 miscues. But Girard generated only 9-for-34 shooting (26.4) and was guilty of 16 turnovers.
Shannon Allen annexed a dozen points for the Yellow Jackets (17-6), but sophomore sensation Maria Welch was only 1 for 9 from the field and limited to 6 points. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.