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Tidioute’s comeback bid comes up just short in D-10 semis

Tidioute’s Alex Sabella (4) battles for a rebound with Commodore Perry’s Keane Cropp (12) and Jared Mink (23) during the second half of Tuesday’s District 10 Class 1A semifinal game at Edinboro University’s McComb Fieldhouse. Sabella had 15 points in the game, but the Bulldogs came up just short, 41-35.

EDINBORO, Pa. – For the Tidioute boys, it wasn’t the finish they were hoping for.

After beating Commodore Perry twice during the regular season, the Bulldogs were stifled by the Panthers in the District 10 Class 1A semifinal at McComb Fieldhouse on Tuesday, 41-35.

With the win, Commodore Perry moves on to play Jamestown in the title game on Friday.

“It was tough, it was emotional,” said Tidioute coach Terry Cotterman. “I’ve had these seniors since eighth grade. This is my last game coaching, and I didn’t want the kids to go out like this. They’re good kids, I couldn’t ask anything more of them.”

Commodore Perry (6-17) gave Tidioute a zone look on defense, denying entry into star forward Jared Veasey for nearly the entire game. Veasey picked up three first-half fouls, but, to his credit, didn’t try and force the issue.

Tidioute’s Ryan Williams (30) and Patrick Shields trap Commodore Perry’s Jared Mink during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s District 10 Class 1A semifinal at Edinboro University’s McComb Fieldhouse.

“They didn’t let Jared get the ball,” Cotterman said. “It was obvious he wasn’t going to touch it. The first two times we played, if he wasn’t getting the ball in the post, he was getting rebounds.”

Instead, the Bulldogs were very patient against the zone.

Commodore Perry was equally as deliberate against the Bulldogs’ (13-9) zone, but the difference was, at least in the first half, they were able to get offensive rebounds.

Jared Mink was the main culprit.

He had six offensive boards in the first 16 minutes, and his 3 gave CP (6-17) a 10-5 lead early in the second quarter.

Tidioute’s Jared Veasey (32) comes up with a loose ball.

Tidioute followed with back-to-back 3’s from Patrick Shields and Alex Sabella to take an 11-10 lead, but Mink and the Panthers scored the final four points of the half to go up 14-11.

“In the first half, they had too many second chances,” noted Cotterman. “We wanted to get out and run, but we couldn’t get the rebounds. It was a little frustrating. We worked somewhat on Jared stepping outside, but he has that mindset of going inside. He’s a good outside shooter, but they kept their zone more spread out.”

The first three minutes of the second half were key.

Mink came out and hit a 3 that started a 7-1 run, capped by a triple from Keane Cropp that made it 24-12 midway through the third quarter.

The lead seemed even larger given the pace of the game, but the Bulldogs got back in it, courtesy of Sabella.

Tidioute’s Alex Sabella defends Commodore Perry’s Hunter Artman.

Sabella, who finished with 15 points, all on 3’s, hit triples on back-to-back possessions, and just like that, Tidioute was back in it, and a game that started off slow had sped up in a hurry.

“We put Al in there and that changed the whole game,” Cotterman said. “He came in, hit some shots and that opened things up a little bit. But when you have to play catch-up, it’s tough.”

Veasey followed with his first made field goal of the game to get Tidioute within 4 at 24-20, but Commodore Perry responded with an 8-1 spurt capped by a 3 courtesy of Hunter Artman that game them a double-digit lead once again, 32-21, with just over five minutes to go in the game.

Ryan Williams and Patrick Shields responded with 3’s of their own to get Tidioute back within 7, but the Panthers hit 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch, including key 1-and-1’s, to keep the Bulldogs at bay.

They needed those free throws, too, as Sabella nailed two more 3’s in the final minute, his second, with 29 seconds to go made it 39-35.

Tidioute’s Patrick Shields launches a 3 during the first half of Tuesday’s District 10 Class 1A semifinal against Commodore Perry at Edinboro’s McComb Fieldhouse.

“I talked about it before we put him in, I said ‘Al you’re going to the point. You have to step up and hit those for us to get back in the game,'” Cotterman said. “He’s a good shooter.”

After Sabella’s 3 cut the lead to four, Artman hit a pair of free throws and it was game over.

It was a disappointing finish to what was a great season and a great return to District 10 for Tidioute, which will graduate a talented senior class that was led by Veasey, Shields, Williams, and Sabella.

“It just wasn’t our day, but these kids set the standard,” Cotterman said. “They’re just super kids. I could call an open gym tomorrow and these seniors would show up. I love them, and I told them that. They’re my kids, for always.”

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Tidioute's Ryan Williams makes a pass around Commodore Perry's Benny Byler.

TIDIOUTE (35)

Veasey 2-1-2-5, Shields 2-0-0-6, Williams 2-0-0-6, Deloe 1-1-2-3, Klos 0-0-0-0, Sabella 5-0-0-15, Kennedy 0-0-0-0, Totals 12-2-4-35

COMMODORE PERRY (41)

Mink 4-6-7-16, Stringert 2-0-0-5, Ke. Cropp 3-2-2-10, Artman 3-3-6-10, Byler 0-0-0-0, Ka. Cropp 0-0-0-0, Totals 12-11-15-41

By Quarters

Tidioute

5 6 10 14 – 35

Commodore Perry 7 7 13 14 – 41

Three-point FGs: Tidioute (9) – Sabella 5, Shields 2, Williams 2; Commodore Perry (6) – Mink 2, Ke. Cropp 2, Stringert, Artman

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