Bobcats Down Bishop Carroll, Move On To PIAA Class-A Boys Basketball State Semifinal

(Photos by Mindi Verdill)

With an opportunistic, ball-hawking defense, good ball handling, strong inside game, with enough from the outside to “keep ’em honest,” the homestanding District 9 champion Clarion Area Bobcats downed the District 6 champion Bishop Carroll Huskies 61-54 in their PIAA State Boys 1A quarterfinal game, on Friday (March 19th). With the win The Cats will travel to Altoona High School to face the District 5 champion Berlin Brothersvalley Mountaineers, on Monday (March 22nd) for their semifinal match-up. Tip-off is set for 7:30PM. Berlin Brothersvalley advanced with a forfeit win over Bishop Canevin, who bowed out due to Covid 19 issues.

This will be the Bobcats first State semifinal appearance since 1966 (fifty-five years ago)!

After BC opened the game converting two free throws, the Bobcats went on a 7-0 run, with a pair of free-throws by Christian Simko, a layup, free-throw and a reverse layup by Beau Verdill. With two free-throws and a layup by Simko to close out the period, Clarion held an 11-6 lead.

Verdill, Hunter Craddock and Cal German scored six points apiece in the second, with Dawson Smail adding a bucket, as the Cats outscored the Huskies, 20-13 in the second to take a 31-19 lead into halftime. Verdill and Craddock had their dominance under the hoop on full display in the period. And a highlight was Verdill breaking away for a jamb, early on, giving Clarion 17-11 lead.

Opening Tip

The Huskies came out strong in the third, outscoring the Bobcats 18-9, to trail by just three points, 40-37 heading to the fourth. Craddock scored eight of Clarion’s points, again mostly from inside, wiith Simko adding a free-throw.

The Cats moved their lead to eight points, 47-39, with a 7-2 run to open the final stanza. Craddock had a pair of layups, one coming after he stole the ball and a pair of free-throws, with Verdill also adding a free-throw during the sequence.

The Huskies fought back and with 1:40 left on the clock, Spencer Myers hit a shot giving BC their first and only lead of the contest, at 54-53. But in a situation where a lot of teams would fold, the Bobcats closed the contest out with an 8-0 run, which included a driving layup by Simko, a steal and layup by Verdill, two free-throws by German and Craddock following up his own missed free-throw with a rebound and layup at the buzzer. Amazing sequence; kind of a microcosm of the Cats’ play during the whole game.

With the Cats 21-17 edge in the fourth the 61-54 final was set.

Craddock led the Bobcats with a game-high twenty-six points. Verdill and German followed with double-figures also, with 14 and ten points respectively. Simko followed with 9 points and Smail had two.

German, Smail, Ethan Burford, who left the game early in the third with an injury and Ryan Alston all did a great job handling the ball and on defense.

Bishop Carroll was led by Myers with 19 points and Luke Repko with fifteen.

(Thanks to Mindi Verdill for her photos. Great win, Cats!!!! Beat the Mountaineers!!!!)