Free throws boost California in overtime win
California coach Phil Pergola feared that poor free throw shooting was going to cost his team against Brownsville Friday night.
Fortunately, he was wrong. Free throw shooting was the key factor in the Trojans' 66-59 overtime win over the Falcons in a Section 4 AA contest.
The Trojans (7-6, 2-3) shot a sizzling 19-for-23 (83 percent) from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and overtime. Prior to the fourth quarter the Trojans were only 5-of-13.
"It was a hard-fought, physical game," Pergola said of the contest. "Four of their guys fouled out and I had three guys with four fouls."
The key basket belonged to Demetri Clements, who hit a 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to tie it up for the Trojans.
"That was a big shot," Pergola said of Clements' three. "After that they turned it over to us with 15 seconds to go, but we weren't able to get that last shot.
"In overtime, though, we got the lead early, which allowed us to hold the ball."
California was led by a duo of 20-point scorers. Naz Victoria scored 26, and teammate Brian Fisher added 22.
"They've both started to learn that there are three more players out on the floor with them," Pergola said of the pair. "Those other guys are going to find them when they are where they need to be."
The win moves the Trojans to 2-3 in the section and into a tie for fourth place with the Falcons.
"That was a real big win tonight; hopefully we can get a win at Charleroi Tuesday to make us 3-3," Pergola said. "I'll take that especially not having Tanner (Huffman) in the lineup."
Huffman, the team's leading scorer, is currently out with an ankle injury.
"He practiced yesterday, but the foot didn't respond today," Pergola said of the talented junior. "Maybe Tuesday. If not, I may consider holding him out of the Jeannette game Friday. We'll see."
Bentworth 63, Carmichaels 49
Bentworth remained perfect in Section 3A with a 63-49 win over visiting Carmichaels.
"We had some players get in foul trouble," Bearcats coach Bob Kennedy said. "I was very impressed, though, we played a half-court game and ran through our offense very well in the second half."
The second half wasn't the story, as Bentworth (10-1, 3-0) exploded to a 21-11 lead after the first quarter thanks to a pressure defense.
Scott Wytovich led a quartet of Bearcats in double-figures with 17 points. Tyler Delval added 15 and Eric Schoedel netted 11 points for Bentworth. Gannon Mitchell-Walls chipped in with 10 points.
Colton Yoders led the Mikes (4-9, 1-2) with 16 points.
Montour 85, Ringgold 40
Ringgold traveled to Montour for a Section 5AAA contest and was blown out of the Spartans' gymnasium by the home team, 85-40.
Kevin Scuilli nailed six 3-pointers, scoring a game-high 18 points and teammates Tyler Haas (17) and Dillon Buechel (13) combined for 30 points for the undefeated Spartans (7-0, 5-0).
Ringgold, who trailed 45-19 at the half, were led by Nick Greaves and Taivon Crews, who each tallied 12 points.
The Rams will play Uniontown at noon Sunday as part of the Martin Luther King Classic at California University of Pennsylvania. The game will be played in the school's new Convocation Center.
Thomas Jefferson 57, Elizabeth Forward 34
The Jaguars got of to a quick start, jumping out to a 13-3 first quarter lead on the visiting Warriors.
Elizabeth Forward (7-5, 2-3) never recovered and fell to -Thomas Jefferson, 57-34, in a Section 4 AAA contest.
Joe Carroll scored 19 points and teammate Jason Horan notched 12 points for the Jaguars (5-8, 4-1), who didn't allow a double-digit scorer for the Warriors.
Eric Danko led Elizabeth Forward with eight points.
The Warriors will host winless Belle Vernon Area Tuesday in another section contest.
Mt. Pleasant 32, Yough 29
Scoring was at a minimum for the Vikings and Cougars, but Mt. Pleasant was able to outlast Yough, 32-29, in Section 3AAA thanks to Ryan Gumbita's 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Gumbita scored more than half (17) of his teams 32 points to lead Mt. Pleasant to the win.
Yough (4-9, 1-4) got eight points each from Jay Miller and Ben D'Amico.
The Cougars will travel to section foe Southmoreland Tuesday.
One local girls' team took the court Friday night.
Frazier raced to a 22-4 first quarter lead over winless Mapletown to catapult the Lady Commodores to a 50-20 win.
Megan Manack led the way for the Lady Dores (5-9), scoring a game-high 14 points.
Frazier didn't allow a Mapletown (1-12) basket in the second quarter.