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Connellsville ends season with win over Albert Gallatin

| Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, 11:09 p.m.
Lori Padilla | For the Daily Courier
Connellsville's Austin Heinbaugh (left) looks to make a play while being defended by Albert Gallatin's Logan Wrona during a Section 1-AAAA game on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 at Connellsville High School.
Lori Padilla | For the Daily Courier
Connellsville's Trent Bauer (23) tries to put up a shot while being covered by Albert Gallatin's David Knox (12) and Brandon Paroda (44) during a Section 1-AAAA game on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 at Connellsville High School.

The Connellsville boys basketball team may not have reached its goal of qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs this season, but the Falcons did go out winners.

Connellsville concluded its season Friday by honoring its seniors and earning a 69-57 victory over visiting Albert Gallatin in Section 1-AAAA.

“You're always happy when it's a senior night game and you can send them off on the right note,” Connellsville coach Dan Bosnic said. “The results don't always reflect the effort it took. I thanked them for their effort they put forth. We didn't always get the results, but their effort, I appreciate. This is a great group of young guys.”

Considering it was senior night, it was only fitting that seniors Trent Bauer, Jimmy Leichliter and Jade Maher each put up strong numbers to help the Falcons (11-10, 5-7) close the season in style by securing an overall winning record.

Bauer set the tone early by getting some hard baskets on the inside. He finished with a game-high 27 points. Bauer was particularly effective in the first half as Connellsville built a 39-32 halftime advantage.

“He took a lot of contact and did a good job of finishing,” Bosnic said of Bauer.

Jimmy Leichliter also hit some big shots early and finished with 21 points as Connellsville outscored Albert Gallatin 24-10 in the second quarter.

According to Albert Gallatin coach Shea Fleenor, the second quarter was the difference in the game.

“It's been the story of our season,” Fleenor said. “If we could put 32 minutes together, we could beat teams. Without that second quarter, I think we might have won.”

The Colonials (7-14, 0-12) did battle back. Albert Gallatin got Bauer in foul trouble early in the third quarter, which meant that Connellsville's big man watched the majority of the quarter from the bench.

Albert Gallatin stayed in the game thanks to some key baskets from Christian Goletz, Nick Groover and Josh Zidek. Goletz and Groover each finished with a team-high 14 points, and Zidek added 12 points.

But with Bauer on the sidelines, Maher stepped up and filled the void down low by hitting three clutch baskets in the third quarter. Maher finished with 10 points.

“He did a great job of finishing around the hoop,” Bosnic said of Maher.

Trailing by 13 to start the fourth, the Colonials were able to claw within nine points with four minutes to go. But just when Albert Gallatin seemed to have hopes of a late rally, Leichliter buried a key 3-pointer to restore a double-digit lead and the Falcons held on for the win.

While the Falcons went out with a victory, the Colonials will look to do the same when they close their season with a nonsection game at Mt. Pleasant on Monday.

“Win, lose or draw, they work extremely hard,” Fleenor said. “They could have folded at any time this season, but they kept battling. We just have to keep on getting better.”

Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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