Cougars nip Trojans to keep pace in 5-AA

| Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 12:11 a.m.

The Charleroi boys basketball team pulled themselves into a three-way tie for first place in Section 5-AA after defeating California, 44-38, at home in a sloppy game for both teams.

The Cougars improve to 7-4 overall and 5-1 in section play,while the Trojans fall to 5-7, including a 3-3 section mark.

Charleroi was aided by Frazier's 52-46 win at Brownsville.

“It was definitely a big win for us, even though it was ugly,” Charleroi coach Bill Wiltz said. “I would rather win ugly than lose pretty. We're happy where we are at right now. We're still reeling a bit from that Brownsville performance, but we seemed to have righted the ship a little bit just in time for the second half of section play.”

Charleroi continually pressured California into mistakes all game, dominating the boards despite the absence of 6-7 sophomore John Arnold due to an illness. Senior Brandon Bowman took charge on the inside, tallying 12 points as the Cougars out-rebounded the Trojans nearly 2-to-1.

“Brandon Bowman killed us tonight,” California coach Bruno Pappasergi said. “I told the kids this week that we could not get beat on the boards if we wanted to win this game, and Bowman, he really hurt us on the inside. It's no one's fault in particular, it's just the way he plays gives us problems.”

Wiltz also praised Bowman's effort, as well as that of Dakota Moorer, who recorded a game-high 13 points, and Ryan Konek, who finished with 11 rebounds.

“Bowman played a nice game, like usual,” Wiltz said. “Dakota gave us a real good spark defensively. He made some huge steals and was able to convert them into some easy buckets. Konek did a real nice job rebounding. I think all five played extremely well tonight. Our game plan was to use a lot more pressure and they did a good job at the beginning breaking our trap. So we scrapped that for the remainder of the game and went to an extended 1-3-1 zone and it seemed to give them some problems.”

Pappasergi, who coached many years as an assistant at Charleroi, was not bothered by the low point output by his team, but he did lament on the missed opportunities that could have changed the outcome.

“Well, its 38 points in a sense of how we ran our offense,” he said. “We wanted to pick our spots. We could have thrown up 3-pointers all game on their zone, but you live and die by the three. I wanted to go in for the layup, which we were getting consistently, instead of taking the three. But then it comes down to how many layups we missed. We easily could have had another 20 points and won that game if we converted our layup chances.”

Josh Luko was the lone Trojan with double digit points, finishing with 11.

“Our goal now is to go 6-0 from here on out,” Pappassergi said. “I don't know if that is possible, but we are going to take it one game at a time from here on out like the cliché goes, and see where we end up. We are still very much in the mix.

Donnie Tasser is a freelance writer.

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