Defensive stop sets tone in Erie McDowell win over Kiski Area
TribLIVE Sports Videos
ERIE — The Kiski Area Cavaliers were in the process of reducing a 14-point halftime deficit, trailing by six with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
Joey Brungo was driving the lane, set to slice the McDowell lead to four.
But Trojans defender Jake Tarasovich reached in, tied up the ball, and McDowell was awarded the ball on the alternate possession.
McDowell responded with a quick hoop, followed by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, and the Trojans were on their way to a 65-46 victory in a PIAA Class AAA first-round game at Gannon's Hammermill Center.
District 10 champion McDowell (23-3) will play Hampton on Wednesday in second-round play at a site and time to be determined.
Kiski Area, making its first PIAA tournament appearance in 10 years, finished the season at 17-7.
A junior reserve, Tarasovich didn't score during the game, but his big play had plenty to do with his team's victory.
“That's what Tarasovich does,” said Trojans coach Kevin O' Connor. “He brings energy, he's all over the place, we needed that, and he provided it to us.”
“We had an odd-man break, we had the opportunity to cut it, and the kid just made a good play,” said Cavaliers coach Joey Tutchstone. “They got a stop, then they got a basket, and it went from six to 11 quickly.”
Andrew Stromenger got the basket off the tie-up for McDowell, setting the stage for Michael Beck to bring the partisan Trojans crowd at Hammermill to its feet with a half-court shot to end the third quarter.
It was all McDowell after that as the Trojans put the finishing touches on a 14-1 run that put the game out of reach.
Beck led all scorers with 28 points, though he was blanked in the first quarter.
“My senior year, it's win or go home at this point,” Beck said. “I love my team so much, my school, my coach. Everyone's behind us. I'm just trying with the team to show up and get the job done.”
Kiski Area played well at times. The Cavaliers staged an 8-0 run that straddled the first and second quarters to take a 16-11 lead. But Beck finally hit his first field goal of the game, a 3-pointer with 5:01 left in the half to give McDowell a 19-18 lead as part of a 17-2 Trojans run.
“During those runs, we got some good looks,” Tutchstone said. “But theirs went down, and ours didn't. We knew coming in that they could shoot well.”
The Cavaliers started to gamble as the second half began, forcing six McDowell turnovers in the first four minutes of the second half, and cutting its deficit to single digits.
Mike Simmons, with a strong second half of the season, was held to 10 points, one field goal each quarter.
“We couldn't be happier with Matt Hansen tonight, he guarded 22 (Simmons) baseline to baseline,” O' Connor said. “We wanted to tire them out, and I think we got to them a little bit.”
Brungo also had 10 points for the Cavaliers.
Dalton Grafius had 11 rebounds to lead McDowell.
George Guido is a freelance writer.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Burrell girls basketball braces for Greensburg Central
- High school roundup: OLSH uses big 2nd half to surge past Quaker Valley
- Deep roster sparks Butler boys basketball team
- Butler girls basketball team earning narrow victories
- Defensive play fueling Mars boys basketball team
- West Mifflin edges late-charging Steel Valley in Section 4 contest
- Greensburg high school roundup: Hempfield downs Penn-Trafford to stay unbeaten
- Valley Independent roundup: Elizabeth Forward edges Ringgold in Section 4-AAA clash
- Hot-shooting Charleroi blitzes Waynesburg
- Greensburg Salem’s Oberdorf on early-season scoring binge
- Quaker Valley girls basketball poised to win now