Ligonier Valley High School boys basketball concludes season
The Ligonier Valley High School boys basketball team dropped out of the District Six playoffs in the semi-final round, losing 64-54 to second-seeded Penn Cambria. Head coach John Berger said his team didn't handle the pressure and made unforced errors that gave Penn Cambria an opening to take the lead.
“I think our guys played pretty hard, I'm just proud of them,” Berger said. “I was worried about them being nervous coming into the game, but they played pretty well. We fought back two times in the first half and that shows their character. Hats off to Penn Cambria, man they're good. Penn Cambria is the number two seed for a reason,” Berger said.
Jordan Jones had one of his highest scoring nights of the season, leading Ligonier in scoring with 17 points. Berger said he expects a lot out of the sophomore in the next two years.
“Jordan likes this gym; did the same thing last year against the number two seed,” Berger said. “As a freshman he was our leading scorer. He starts for a reason. He's a tough kid.”
Zach Yeskey followed with 14 points, Alec Bloom scored 12, Micah Tennant and Scott Fennell both scored four points, and Alex Tutino hit a 3-pointer.
Throughout the season, the Rams have had the size advantage against every opponent, but did not enjoy that benefit against Penn Cambria.
“They're big, they're athletic; by far the biggest team we've played this year,” Berger said. “The best player for them is 6-feet 7-inches tall and can shoot from pretty much half court, in; he's tough. We knew that going into the game.”
The Panthers got out to an early 13-2 lead three minutes into the game. The Rams battled back to within two, making the score 17-15, a margin Ligonier maintained going into the half, when the score was 31-29 in favor of Penn Cambria.
“We just got the momentum in our favor. We hit some shots and we got some rebounds and I think they got a couple turnovers in the mix, and that was a confidence builder,” Berger said.
Ligonier took the lead in the game 35-31 during the third quarter, but were unable to hold onto it, allowing Penn Cambria to go into the fourth with a 43-39 lead. In a hurried attempt to close the gap, the Rams made unforced errors and turnovers, which widened the margin for the Panthers, who did not surrender the lead again.
Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.