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Central Valley outlasts Thomas Jefferson to reach WPIAL Class AAA finals

Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review - Thomas Jefferson's Chase Winovich (right) and Central Valley's Matt Kline go after a rebound during a WPIAL Class AAA semifinal game Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune-Review</em></div>Thomas Jefferson's Chase Winovich (right) and Central Valley's Matt Kline go after a rebound during a WPIAL Class AAA semifinal game Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review - Central Valley coach Brandon Amborse watches game action during the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals against Thomas jefferson on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune-Review</em></div>Central Valley coach Brandon Amborse watches game action during the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals against Thomas jefferson on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review - Central Valley's John George (1) and Jacob St. George celebrate tying the game against Thomas Jefferson during the the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune-Review</em></div>Central Valley's John George (1) and Jacob St. George celebrate tying the game against Thomas Jefferson during the the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review - Central Valley's Matt Kline attempts a shot over Thomas Jefferson's Eric Fairman during the the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune-Review</em></div>Central Valley's Matt Kline attempts a shot over Thomas Jefferson's Eric Fairman during the the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review - Central Valley's John George makes a fast break down the court against Thomas Jefferson's Jasan Horan during the a WPIAL Class AAA semifinal game Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune-Review</em></div>Central Valley's John George makes a fast break down the court against Thomas Jefferson's Jasan Horan during the a WPIAL Class AAA semifinal game Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review - Central Valley celebrates a 68-59 overtime win against Thomas Jefferson during the the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune-Review</em></div>Central Valley celebrates a 68-59 overtime win against Thomas Jefferson  during the the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review - Central Valley's Matt Kline grabs a rebound in overtime against Thomas Jefferson during the the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune-Review</em></div>Central Valley's Matt Kline grabs a rebound in overtime against Thomas Jefferson during the the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review - Thomas Jefferson's Zack Good goes up for a layup against Central Valley during the the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chatiers Valley.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune-Review</em></div>Thomas Jefferson's Zack Good goes up for a layup against Central Valley during the the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chatiers Valley.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | Tribune Review - Thomas Jefferson's Zack Good tries to work around Central Valley defender Brian Kolich during a WPIAL Class AAA semifinal game Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  Tribune Review</em></div>Thomas Jefferson's Zack Good tries to work around Central Valley defender Brian Kolich during a WPIAL Class AAA semifinal game Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chartiers Valley.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review - Thomas Jefferson coach Dom DiCicco watches game action from the sideline against Central Valley during the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chatiers Valley.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune-Review</em></div>Thomas Jefferson coach Dom DiCicco watches game action from the sideline against Central Valley during the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Chatiers Valley.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review - Thomas Jefferson's Zach Talley is a member of the Daily News Fabulous 15.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune-Review</em></div>Thomas Jefferson's Zach Talley is a member of the Daily News Fabulous 15.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Tribune-Review - Thomas Jefferson’s Charlie Scharbo (21) and Central Valley’s Matt Kline reach for the jump ball at the start of a WPIAL Class AAA semifinal game Tuesday at Chartiers Valley. Kline scored 20 points in Central Valley's overtime victory.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Tribune-Review</em></div>Thomas Jefferson’s Charlie Scharbo (21) and Central Valley’s Matt Kline reach for the jump ball at the start of a WPIAL Class AAA semifinal game Tuesday at Chartiers Valley. Kline scored 20 points in Central Valley's overtime victory.

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Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, 10:39 p.m.
 

Central Valley wasn't catching any breaks.

Or that is at least how coach Brandon Ambrose viewed Tuesday's Class AAA semifinal game against Thomas Jefferson.

But when Central Valley needed the breaks the most, they came in droves — some with help from Thomas Jefferson.

Eric Fairman missed an uncontested layup with two minutes left and his team up six points, and Chase Winovich took an ill-advised, albeit wide-open, 10-foot jumper moments later that gave Central Valley all it needed.

Central Valley scored eight points in a span of 50 seconds and withstood a last-second Charlie Scharbo runner that sent the game into overtime to win, 68-59, at Chartiers Valley and advance to the school's first championship game.

The Warriors face Chartiers Valley (24-1) at Palumbo Center on Friday.

“This is what high school basketball is about,” Ambrose said. “We didn't shoot it well. We didn't handle it all too well, but we found a way. I shook my head most of the game because we couldn't catch a break. I never felt like we were getting right bounces, then all of a sudden the last minute we got them all.”

The Warriors outscored Thomas Jefferson, 15-6, in overtime.

Thomas Jefferson coach Dom DeCicco saw the ending of the game that featured 26 ties or lead changes in a different light.

“You look back, and that layup hurt,” DeCicco said of Fairman's miss. “We just made some bad decisions. Our kids played well and prepared well. It is frustrating because I think we are better than them.”

Central Valley (21-3) got 20 points and 12 rebounds from 6-foot-8 center Matt Kline, while John George made five 3-pointers for 15 points. Mike Simms added 14.

Thomas Jefferson (22-3), which had its 15-game winning streak snapped, got 25 points from Zach Talley and 11 from Fairman. Winovich and Talley fouled out. Winovich and leading scorer Scharbo sat out most of the first half because of foul trouble. They combined for only three first-half shots.

“We had our opportunities,” DeCicco said. “Down the stretch, we wanted layups, but we didn't want that shot (from Winovich).”

Thomas Jefferson had opportunities to win it in overtime. The Jaguars took a 56-53 lead when Zach Good hit a 3-pointers early in the extra frame. After that, it was all Central Valley.

Thomas Jefferson missed its final nine shots in overtime along with all three of its free throws.

“Our guys never stopped battling and they had a desire to win,” Ambrose said. “They want to win as bad as any team I have ever been around. You keep playing hard and good things will happen.”

Central Valley can attest to that now.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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