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Glendale tops Mo Valley
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
AMESVILLE - While it was snowing outside the Lamont Close Gymnasium on Monday night, it was raining 3's on the inside - courtesy of the Moshannon Valley boys basketball team.
The Black Knights knocked down 10 trifectas, including a 6-of-12 effort in the game's first 12 minutes, in their third contest of the year with rival Glendale.
While the long-distance shots allowed Mo Valley to stay in the game, the Vikings' attacking, opportunistic offense won out in the long run.
Glendale saw a 3-point advantage with 4:05 left in the third balloon to 13 by quarter's end, as the Vikings made it a season sweep of the Knights, 72-54, behind an offense that cashed in on higher-percentage shots in the paint.
Head coach Ryan Pastva's team answered Mo Valley freshman Eric Sherkel's jumper with just over four minutes left in the third - which made it a 45-42 game - by scoring 27 of the game's last 41 points over the course of 12 minutes to pull away from the pesky Knights, who celebrated Senior Night.
"Between the two games (varsity and jayvee)," said Pastva, "(Mo Valley) made 20 3-pointers. We tried to get a hand in their face, but it seemed like everything they shot went in.
"Our guys buckled down in the second half. We came back and changed it up in the second half and got back to our gameplan."
Knight sophomore Sam Demko drained one of his three 3-pointers with 4:02 left in the opening half to give Mo Valley a 32-30 lead, which prompted Pastva to call a timeout.
After his team settled in, it closed out the half by scoring seven unanswered points to take a 5-point edge into halftime.
The same held true after Sherkel's third-quarter bucket, as the Vikings closed the stanza on a 12-2 run.
"We knew what to expect," Mo Valley head coach Mike LaFuria said. "We knew we had to stop (Marcus) McCrae, (Damon) Braniff and (Shea) O'Donnell. I thought we did a good job on Braniff, but McCrae had a pretty good game for them. We battled hard and played good ‘D' ... they just came out on top.
"They were getting in the middle quick and getting it up the court (against the press). We were a little bit confused on the press and our man was pretty good tonight ... we just have some work to do."
Glendale gained momentum out of the locker room after attacking the foul-prone Knights, who were in foul trouble early and often.
The Vikings took a 7-point edge on foul shots from McCrae and O'Donnell, who combined to score 38 points in the contest.
Sherkel's third and final 3-pointer cut the deficit to four before he later converted in the paint to make it a 3-point contest.
Mo Valley's 3-point attempts fell with less frequency in the second half, and the Vikings were able to turn the misses into points on the other end.
Braniff, who scored 17 points in the game, spearheaded Glendale's third-quarter flurry with four points during the 12-2 run.
"They just started making their shots when we were missing our shots," said LaFuria. "We played a good zone, turned the ball over a couple of times and they converted. They went on a run where they made their shots, and that was (the difference).
"Foul trouble hurt us tonight and we were a little slow with our help (defense)."
McCrae, O'Donnell and Anthony Barnhart each contributed to the game-deciding span for the Vikings, who improved to 10-8.
"We felt we had a good matchup with Shea in the post and we decided to go with that all day long," Pastva said. "It paid off in the first half with the fouls, but not the scoreboard. In the second half, we started getting some buckets and pulled in some rebounds.
"I thought Braniff did a really good job down the stretch of taking ownership of the team. He's been our go-to all season, and he was a little frustrated how we were playing collectively. He really stepped up as a leader, despite the negativity - of what we felt - in the first half."
Glendale took an early 5-point edge in the game's first three-plus minutes, but consecutive buckets from Luther Harlow chopped the deficit to 1 and was a sign of things to come.
Nathan Bailey nailed a pair of 3s for the Knights in the opening quarter, which saw the guests hold a 22-19 edge as the buzzer sounded.
Bailey and teammate Jim McHugh, who added seven points, were recognized in a pregame ceremony. Bailey picked up his third foul with 7:36 left in the first half, and his playing time was plagued as a result. The Mo Valley senior ended the night with eight.
Sherkel led all Knights with 14 points, while Harlow ended with 11.
"We were really getting them to fall," said LaFuria, whose team dipped to 0-17, "but we just went cold in the second half. You have to give them credit because they converted on our turnovers.
"Nathan and Jim played well. We played them a lot on Senior Night and we really wanted to get them a win. Nathan has really been shooting well the last couple games."
Both teams take to the road on Wednesday.
The Knights travel to Curwensville for another Moshannon Valley League tilt, while the Vikings head to Inter-County Conference foe Williamsburg.
"It wasn't all too close the first two meetings," said Pastva, "but this one may have been a ‘oh, we have this in the bag.' It was a little bit of a wake-up call, but it might not be a bad thing. Sometimes you need that."
Glendale won the jayvee game, 46-42, in overtime.

Glendale-72
Snyder 2 0-0 4, Matchock 0 0-0 0, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Witherow 2 2-2 6, Braniff 7 1-2 17, O'Donnell 7 5-6 20, McCrae 8 2-2 18, Barnhart 1 3-4 5, Schultz 0 0-0 0, M. Kimberly 0 0-0 0, Sinclair 0 0-0 0, C. Kimberly 0 0-0 0, Landeck 0 0-0 0. Totals: 28 13-16 72.
Moshannon Valley-54
McHugh 3 0-0 7, Bailey 3 0-0 8, Harlow 5 1-4 11, Bubb 2 0-2 5, Sherkel 5 1-2 14, Demko 3 0-0 9, Frailey 0 0-0 0, Krupa 0 0-0 0, Ohs 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 2-8 54.
Three-pointers: Braniff 2, O'Donnell; Sherkel 3, Demko 3, Bailey 2, McHugh, Bubb.
Score by Quarters
Glendale   22 15 20 15-72
Mo Valley  19 13 12 10-54


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