MEADVILLE - One and done.
Eisenhower was gashed in the third quarter and dropped its opening-round District 10 Class A boys playoff game, 71-50, on Friday to VisionQuest at Meadville High School.
VisionQuest led 28-22 at halftime before a 20-7 third quarter put the game away.
Times Observer photo by Tyson Himes
Eisenhower’s Ryan Williams puts up a shot over three VisionQuest defenders during a 71-50 District 10 Class A playoff loss on Friday at Meadville Area High School.
Times Observer photo by Tyson Himes
Eisenhower's Nathan O'Brien fights for a loose ball against VisionQuest Friday night in a District 10 Class A boys quarterfinal playoff game at Meadville High School.
Times Observer photo by Allen Seybert
Out for a drive
Sheffield’s Nick Bonavita, middle, drives around Ridgway’s Eric Matherson and Aaron Sorge (34) during the second quarter of Friday’s District 9 Class A Quarterfinal basketball game at Ridgway High School. The Wolverines saw their season come to an end with a 65-48 loss — the third loss to Elkers this season.
"I'm proud of them for the way they hustled; it's been a good season," said Eisenhower assistant coach Jacoby Curtis after the loss.
The Eagles hit a 3-pointer and got an open look inside to go up by five over Eisenhower to start the game strong.
The Knights found their footing after the opening tip with the help of Aaron Lundmark. He was one of the few Knights that was effective around the glass.
Eisenhower was willing to let VisionQuest shoot from the outside, and that strategy was somewhat successful, though the Eagles hit five 3-pointers in the game.
Lundmark hit a shot to cut the VisionQuest lead to three, but the Eagles responded with a bucket to make the score 13-8 after one quarter.
VisionQuest hit another 3-pointer in transition to start the scoring in the second quarter.
Ryan Williams got the Ike crowd back into the game when he connected on a basket and was fouled in the process. But that momentum was short-lived. VisionQuest's Nasir Mitchel had a good dish to a teammate on the next possession for a bucket. Mitchel handled the ball well all game for the Eagles.
Lundmark cleaned up a rebound for the Knights to get within five with 5:40 left in the quarter.
"Aaron Lundmark shot the ball well tonight," said Curtis.
A minute later, the Knights got three offensive rebounds in a row, finally getting a lay-in from Joe Rutsky to keep the game within five points.
Andrew Onoratti hit a baseline jumper and then Ryan Williams used a drop step in the post to tighten the game to within one at 20-19 VisionQuest with 3:10 left in the half.
But the Eagles would outscore the Knights 8-3 to end the quarter, taking a six-point halftime lead.
VisionQuest came out in a full court press in the third quarter and completely disrupted Eisenhower. The Eagles scored four points in the first minute, going up ten, 32-22.
Colin Shine delayed the Eagles run by banking in a 3-pointer. However, Eisenhower could not stop VisionQuest. They outscored the Knights 20-7 in the third quarter. The pressure from VisionQuest's defense and scrappy play on offense blew the game open at an important juncture. The Eagles led by 19 points after three.
"We fought to the end," said Curtis.
When it seemed the game was completely out of hand, the Knights responded. With 2:25 remaining, Nathan O'Brien grabbed an offensive rebound, was fouled, and sank his two free throws to make the game 56-46 VisionQuest. Eisenhower then put on its own full-court press. The Knights failed to cover deep and VisionQuest's Mitchel caught a rainbow pass for a layup and was fouled. His score put the Eagles up 14 and the foul put VisionQuest in the bonus.
A combination that was too much to overcome with under two minutes left in the game.
Eisenhower finished with a final record of 13-10.
VisionQuest will play West Middlesex on Tuesday in the District 10 Class A semifinals.
VISIONQUEST (71): Nasir Mitchel 6 1-3 15, Curtis Gibbs 1 2-2 4, Darrian Brown 6 2-4 15, Tyree Almore 2 0-0 5, Derrick Rollins 1 0-4 2, Dominique Henderson 1 0-2 3, Kimon Roberson 11 3-3 25, Khalif Goldwire 1 0-0 2. Totals 29 8-18 71
EISENHOWER (50): Josh Deppas 3 0-1 8, Aaron Lundmark 6 3-4 15, Jarrett Johnson 0 0-2 0, Colin Shine 1 0-0 3, Nathan O'Brien 3 3-5 9, Andrew Onoratti 2 0-0 4, Ryan Williams 3 1-1 7, Joe Rutsky 2 0-0 4. Totals 20 7-13 50
VisionQuest 13 15 20 23 -71
Eisenhower 8 14 7 21 -50
3-pointers. V-Nasu Mitchel 2, Darrian Brown 2, Dominique Henderson 1. E-Josh Deppas 2, Colin Shine 1.
District 9 Class A Quarterfinals
Ridgway 65, Sheffield 48
RIDGWAY - Even before Friday's District 9 Class A quarterfinal boys basketball playoff game between Sheffield and Ridgway, the Elkers' public address announcer informed the Ridgway faithful of the time and date of the Elkers' next playoff game.
While that game will be played as planned, the P.A. announcer - and maybe even the entire Ridgway contingent - underestimated the heart of this team of Wolverines.
Despite two 30-plus point losses to Ridgway during the regular season, the Wolverines trailed by just three points at halftime and 10 points in the fourth quarter during a 65-48 loss at Ridgway High School.
Ridgway advances to play Clarion-Limestone in Wednesday's semifinal round. Sheffield ends the season with a mark of 14-10.
Despite the season-ending loss, Wolverines coach Todd Fitch couldn't have been happier with the effort put forth by his team.
"If we have to go out, this was the way to do it," said Fitch. "By far, this was the best game we've put together all season. We hustled after every loose ball and were able to keep them off-balance, especially in the first half.
"(Ridgway) made some adjustments at halftime and we struggled to keep up. I couldn't be prouder of those kids. They did absolutely everything (assistant coach) Jay (Fitch) and I could've asked. It was a fantastic effort."
The game was the last in the careers of six Sheffield seniors who see a majority of the court time for the Wolverines. Guards Ike Nearing, Mark Sprandle and Nick Bonavita and forwards George Fitch, Kalil Slaughter and Josh Anderson all played their final game in the orange and black.
While disappointed with the loss, Bonavita was able to put the defeat into perspective.
"The first two times we played Ridgway, we got blown out by over 30 points," said Bonavita. "We came out tonight confident and ready to play. I'm happy with the season. We set goals and we didn't just reach them - we surpassed them."
From the opening tip, the game was played in an uptempo fashion. After struggling with Ridgway's press in the first two meetings, the Wolverines were able to effectively beat it on Friday and trailed just 12-10 with 3:19 left in the first quarter.
During the next 28 seconds, Ridgway would get back-to-back 3-pointers by Eric Matheson and Jordan Lundin as the Elkers stretched the lead to eight. Sheffield was able to narrow the gap by the end of the first, trailing 18-14 after one stanza.
The momentum gained at the end of the first carried over into the second as Sheffield used a 12-2 run to take its first lead of the game. Tied at 20-20 with 6:30 left in the first half, Nearing drove to the hoop for a highlight reel layup and the Wolverines led 22-20.
Thanks to the outside shooting of Bonavita and Sprandle, the Wolverines were able to keep the Elkers close even after Ridgway pulled back ahead. However, Ridgway grabbed the momentum in the waning seconds of the first half when Jesse Reynolds executed a putback with two seconds left, giving the hosts a 33-30 lead at halftime.
Early in the third, Ridgway had the lead back to six points, but Sheffield again answered. First, Kalil Slaughter had an offensive rebound and putback and then Nearing was fouled, hitting one of two freebies to make it 38-35.
The free-throw line would play an important role in the game's final outcome. While both teams connected on 22 field goals, the Elkers were 15-of-21 from the charity stripe while Sheffield was just one-of-seven.
After Nearing's free throw, Ridgway scored a couple of quick baskets, forcing Fitch to call a timeout. The break stalled Ridgway's momentum, but only momentarily. The Elkers closed the quarter on a 9-4 run and took their biggest lead of the night to that point- 12 points - into the fourth quarter.
Sheffield scored the first bucket of the fourth quarter to get within 10, but that was as close as the game would be the rest of the way. With 1:46 left in the game, Fitch emptied his bench and the Sheffield faithful were able to applaud the efforts of a talented senior class one last time.
"Those guys mean so much to this program," said Fitch. "To watch them grow as basketball players and young men has been such a privilege."
After scoring 38 points against Sheffield earlier this month, Matheson was held to just 11 points on Friday. This time, it was Reynolds who did most of the damage as the junior finished with a game-high 26 points. Lundin was the third Elker in double figures, finishing with 18 points.
The Wolverines were led by Bonavita's 12 points. George Fitch and Slaughter added 10 points and five rebounds each and Nearing finished with nine markers and seven assists.
SHEFFIELD (48): Ike Nearing 4 1-2 9, Mark Sprandle 2 0-0 5, Brendan Winslow 1 0-1 2, George Fitch 5 0-0 10, Nick Bonavita 5 0-0 12, Kalil Slaughter 5 0-1 10, Nic Confer 0 0-0 0, Tyler Fitzgerald 0 0-3 0, Dylan McNeal 0 0-0 0, Josh Anderson 0 0-0 0, Totals: 22 1-7 48
RIDGWAY (65): Jesse Reynolds 9 6-7 26, Eric Matheson 2 6-8 11, Jordan Lundin 7 1-1 18, Josh Mitchell 4 1-1 9, Robbie Byrd 0 1-2 1, Tyler Stark 0 0-2 0, Totals: 22 15-21 65
Sheffield 14 16 9 9 - 48
Ridgway 18 15 18 14 - 65
3-pointers: S- Sprandle, Bonavita 2; R- Reynolds 2, Matheson, Lundin 3