One more last chance.
Just weeks after many of them walked off the court for the final time competitively, senior basketball players from Warren and Forest counties were back on the court for a good cause Thursday at Warren Area High School.
The reason - the 6th Annual CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Senior Basketball Classic.
Times Observer photo by Allen Seybert
Twin sisters Lauren Blanco, left, and Alli Blanco of Eisenhower smile after a break in the action during the 6th Annual CASA Senior Basketball Classic girls game Thursday at Warren Area High School.
As has become the norm in the annual senior showcase, the event lived up to its billing as seniors from several of the region's local high schools provided close and entertaining contests -with a little bit of showmanship tossed in.
The girls contest kicked off the evening's festivities and one thing is sure to be certain - There will be some tired female basketball players in class on Friday.
The Volunteers, coached by Eisenhower's Dave Allenson, had only seven players in uniform for the contest while the Attorneys - led by West Forest head man John Wallace - entered the game with only five players available.
ATTORNEYS (32): Hilary Clark 3 0-0 6, Casey Dubrawka 5 0-0 10, Alexis Morrison 4 0-0 8, Cassie York 2 0-0 4, Sam Johnson 2 0-0 4, Totals: 16 0-0 32
VOLUNTEERS (28): Alli Blanco 1 1-2 3, Lauren Blanco 6 0-2 13, Lauren Sherry 4 0-0 8, Kristie Steffan 0 0-0 0, Brittany Summers 0 0-0 0, KayDee Armstrong 1 0-2 2, Taylor Ward 1 0-0 2, Totals: 13 1-6 28
Attorneys 8 8 10 6 - 32
Volunteers 4 7 10 7 - 28
3-pointers: A-None; V- L. Blanco
JUDGES (78): Andrew Blum 0 0-0 0, Devin Mendez 2 1-1 6, Sean Weaver 4 2-4 10, Kyle Papalia 1 0-0 3, Tyler Fantaskey 11 0-0 24, Nathan Billman 1 0-2 3, Matt Brown 3 0-0 6, Shaun Sitterley 2 1-4 5, Joel Stewart 2 0-0 5, Andrew Morrison 6 4-6 16, Totals: 32 8-17 78
ADVOCATES (56): Nik Bagley 0 0-0 0, Shane Cotterman 2 0-0 4, Raymond Gregg 3 0-0 6, Bill Richter 1 1-2 4, Shane Silvis 4 3-3 12, Billy Chuzie 2 0-0 4, D.J. Rose 4 0-0 10, Tim Snavley 0 0-0 0, Nathan Smith 4 2-5 11, Brandon Reed 1 0-0 2, Jeremy Clark 1 0-0 3, Totals: 22 6-10 56
Judges 12 24 19 23 - 78
Advocates 15 23 5 13 - 56
3-pointers: J- Mendez, Papalia, Fantaskey 2, Billman, Stewart; A- Richter, Silvis, Rose 2, Smith, Clark
Despite having only the minimum amount of players in uniform, the Attorneys - featuring athletes from West Forest and Tidioute Charter - held off the Volunteers (Eisenhower, Sheffield and East Forest), 32-28.
Wallace called timeouts at varying intervals throughout the first half and it seemed to work as his team built a 16-11 halftime edge. West Forest's Casey Dubrawka and Tidioute Charter's Alexis Morrison did most of the first-half damage, scoring 12 of the Attorneys' 16 first-half points. On the other side of the court, the Volunteers' Lauren Blanco hit a bevy of open jumpers to help keep her team in the game.
In between the third and fourth quarters, it appeared that this year's girls CASA Classic may be coming to an premature end. Morrison suffered a gash on her right hand and spent several minutes being tended to by the trainer.
Officials had no choice but to wait for Morrison's injury to be dealt with. After all, there wasn't a single sub available to enter the game.
Morrison shook off the setback and helped the Attorneys keep the slim lead they had held all game long. A key bucket by herself and another by TCCS teammate Cassie York helped give the Attorneys a 30-28 lead with 0:18 left in the game.
The Volunteers called a timeout and set up one final possession, but a Blanco jumper narrowly missed the mark. The Attorneys corralled the rebound and quickly pushed up court, finding an open Hilary Clark of West Forest who put the game out of reach with a layup.
Dubrawka led the winners with 10 points and Morrison added eight. Blanco scored a game-high 13 points in defeat while Eisenhower teammate Lauren Sherry scored eight points.
There was no shortage in numbers on either of the boys rosters and both the Judges and Advocates set a torrid pace after the opening tip performed by Judge Gregory Hammond. Early on the Advocates and their roster of East Forest Bears and Youngsville Eagles had the hot hand, building a 15-6 lead over the Judges and their team of West Forest Indians, Warren Dragons and Tidioute Bulldogs.
However, the Judges would close the opening quarter on a 6-0 run, providing a bit of foreshadowing for the remainder of the contest.
At halftime, the Judges had closed to within 38-36 and the third quarter would be where this game was ultimately decided.
Leaning heavily on Warren teammates Tyler Fantaskey and Andrew Morrison, the Judges were simply dominant out of the locker room. The squad held a 19-5 edge in the decisive quarter turning a two-point deficit into a 12-point cushion.
As has become custom, the teams spent the fourth and final quarter entertaining the crowd. As the final eight minutes began, a basketball game broke down into a skills and deep shooting exhibition that would cause most coaches to want to turn the other way.
Fantaskey executed two slam dunks in the final quarter and the fun continued after that. Both Jeremy Clark and Tim Snavley of the Advocates found themselves wide open at the other end of the floor after Judges' baskets.
The reason they were so wide open was simple. No, they weren't cherry picking. Rather, they had sprinted off the bench as teammates played defense on the other end. They weren't even checked into the game at the time.
Despite the antics, the Judges kept firm control of the game and cruised to the 22-point winning margin, 78-56.
Fantaskey led all scorers with 24 points, Morrison added 16 - one more than he scored on varsity all season for the Dragons - and West Forest's Sean Weaver added 10 points. The Advocates were paced by the 12 points of East Forest's Shane Silvis. Youngsville's Nathan Smith added 11 points and teammate D.J. Rose finished with 10.
Proceeds from the game benefited the Court Appointed Special Advocates program.