Dragons dominate LeBoeuf
The emotions surrounding special events like Senior Night can often help propel players to outstanding performances.
Drawing the start in his final regular season home game, Warren senior Jake Funari turned those emotions into an early spark to help propel the Dragons to a 63-42 Senior Night win over Fort LeBoeuf Friday. Funari swiped a steal on the game’s first possession and transitioned it into a 3-pointer from fellow senior Jake Kupchella to put Warren ahead 3-0.
The Dragons would never relinquish that lead.
“Funari’s a hard worker and a good kid,” Warren coach Jeff Berdine said. “It was good to hear the fans (cheer) him on that play.”
Dylan Proctor got the Bison on the board with a layup on the next possession, but senior Caleb Ei answered with a traditional 3-point play to start a 9-0 Dragons run that lasted most of the first quarter and put them up 12-2 with 1:45 to play. Neither team was able to get a shot to fall for the next 1:38, but Proctor was fouled with seven seconds remaining and went 1-2 from the line to end the LeBoeuf scoring drought.
The Dragons again looked to a senior to answer and Devin McMeans came up with a 3-pointer just before time expired to give Warren a 15-3 lead after one.
“We found the right mix of players and got off to a fast start,” Berdine said.
Joe Riley buried the first of his four 3-pointers early in the second, but once again a Dragon senior was there for the response. Aidan Morrison drilled a 3 on Warren’s next possession and the Dragons press defense went to work. The pressure forced turnovers and helped Warren push the advantage to 24-8 midway through the frame. Riley drilled a pair of late 3-pointers to help the Bison cut into the lead, but the Dragons led 28-16 at the half.
“We had them where we wanted them and went a little cold (from the floor),” Berdine said. “We had some groups on the floor that aren’t clicking on offense, so I put our best press group out there. They happened to be our best offensive group tonight and got some easy buckets.”
Riley hit his fourth 3 to start the third quarter, but the swarming Dragons defense continued to create turnovers that led to transition points. Warren held a 42-25 advantage going into the final eight minutes.
“The third quarter was huge for us,” Berdine said. “We made good decisions and got some easy looks. We’re a different team when we get in the press.”
The Dragons continued to build the lead through the fourth quarter, and with two minutes to go, Berdine brought his seniors-Funari, Kupchella, Ei, Morrison, McMeans and Griffin Suppa-off the floor to a standing ovation.
“I’m really happy for them,” he said. “They’re a great group of kids and great group of families. They’ve played a lot of minutes for me and we’ve had a lot of memories together. It’s been a fun ride.”
Kupchella had a team-high 13 points with Ei adding 12. Morrison and McMeans each had seven, Funari chipped in six and Suppa finished with three. Morrison and Suppa each had six rebounds and Kupchella pulled down five.
Riley had a game-high 18 points while Proctor finished with 11 in the loss.
Warren won’t have time to savor this win as the Dragons travel to Bradford this afternoon. Junior varsity tip is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. with varsity to follow.
Warren won the JV game, 72-30
Ryan Arnold led the way with 12 points, Thomas Bablak had 10 and Avery Vazquez nine in the win.
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Fort LeBoeuf (42)
Riley 6-2-2-18, Proctor 4-3-6-11, Books 2-0-1-5, Black 2-0-1-4, Drayer 1-0-0-3, Gentile 0-1-2-1, Shields 0-0-0-0, Enders 0-0-0-0, Turi 0-0-0-0, Ball 0-0-0-0, Team 15-6-12-42
Kupchella 6-0-0-13, Ei 4-3-4-12, Morrison 3-0-0-7, McMeans 3-0-0-7, Funari 3-0-0-6, Berdine 3-0-1-6, Arnold 2-0-0-5, Suppa 1-1-2-3, Grosch 1-0-0-2, Rafalski 1-0-0-2, Bablak 0-0-0-0, Gustafson 0-0-0-0, Swanson 0-0-0-0, Team 27-4-7-63
Fort LeBoeuf 3 13 9
Warren 16 12 14 21 – 63
3-point FGs: Fort LeBoeuf (6)-Riley 4, Books, Drayer. Warren (5)-Morrison, Arnold, Kupchella, McMeans, Ei.