Bobcats End Great Season In State Semifinals

(Above photo by Mindi Verdill) Bobcats lined up for the National Anthem)

The Clarion Area Bobcats great season came to an end on Monday (March 23rd), with a 48-52 PIAA State Boys 1A Basketball semifinal loss to Berlin Brothersvalley, at Altoona High School.

The 2020-2021 Bobcats, who were the first Clarion school since 1966, fifty-five years ago, to reach the state semifinals, finish the season at 17-10. I would guess that most of their parents weren’t even born then. Berlin, 27-1, will move on to face Nativity BVM on Thursday (March, 24th) at the Giant Center in Hershey.

(Photo by Mindi Verdill) PIAA State Semifinal Tip-off

The Mountaineers held a seven point, 22-15 lead after one, but with an 18-5 edge in the second, to lead 40-20 at the half. The Cats had a 16-12 scoring advantage in the third, to go to the final stanza down 52-36. Berlin finished the contest with a 26-16 edge to set the final.

Cal German led the Bobcats with 20 points, followed by Beau Verdill with twelve. Ethan Burford and Hunter Craddock had six points apiece. Christian Simko added four points, while Dawson Smail and Ezra Brooks each had two. Very fitting for Ezra to score the final points on this fine season.

(Photo by Kendra Craddock) Bobcat seniors after D9 Championship win: (Front) Ezra Brooks. Back L-R) Ethan Burford, Hunter Craddock, Beau Verdill, Cal German, Brandon Beish.

Five Bobcat seniors finished their careers: Ezra Brooks, Ethan Burford, Hunter Craddock, Beau Verdill and Brandon Beish.

Elijah Sechler led the Mountaineers with a game-high 24 points, followed by Chase Prosser with nineteen.

This loss will hurt for a while, but the members of this Clarion team will be talking about the great season for years to come. And something to temper the loss: There are only two ways to finish a season with a win. One is to not make the playoffs but win the final regular season game, (far better to make the playoffs); the other is to be the state champion. Once teams are in the playoffs, there is only one team in each classification, in this great big commonwealth, who finishes with a win, the state champion.

And think how close you came, gentlemen, PIAA State Final Four!!

Congratulations, Guys!!!!

(Photo by Kendra Craddock) Bobcats with D9 Trophy and medals after D9 Championship game

(Thanks to Mindi Verdill and Kendra Craddock for their photos!)