Bablak at the buzzer sends Dragons to tourney title
BROOKVILLE, Pa. – Nothing but net!
Tom Bablak’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer lifted the Warren Dragons to a dramatic 63-61 win over Brookville in the host school’s tip-off tournament championship game Saturday night.
After both teams earned blowout wins on Friday, this game was anything but, with neither side leading by more than seven the entire way.
“Very good early season game,” said Warren coach Jeff Berdine. “Back-and-forth the whole way.”
Tied at 60, the Dragons intended to hold for the last shot, but missed a chance to take the lead, leaving Brookville with time.
The Raiders’ Jack Krug got fouled going to the hoop with five seconds left and made the first free throw but missed the second.
Warren’s Mitch Grosch collected the rebound and immediately called timeout.
“Ryan Rafalski got it to Mitch and he knew he didn’t have a great shot, so he made the next pass to Tom who was open and nothing but net,” Berdine said.
Just like coach drew it up.
“It’s tough to draw something up because you’re not sure how the other team is going to play it,” he said.
Both teams traded blows throughout the game, a true early-season heavyweight fight against the defending District 9 Class 3A champions, who return plenty of firepower from that team.
Bablak finished with 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals, earning Tournament MVP honors.
Ben Berdine finished with 16 points six rebounds and four assists and was also named to the all-tournament team. He scored 40 points in the two games.
Peyton Barnes also had a very good tournament for the Dragons, finishing with 15 points, four assists and three steals in the title game win, while Grosch had nine points, four assists and three steals.
Robert Keth led Brookville with 18 points, while David Cable added 13.
The Dragons shot very well in both games, and coach Berdine noted the unselfishness his team is playing with early on.
“Something I can tell early on is that this group is going to be willing passers and find the open guy,” he said. “This group did that last year at the JV level, and overall very happy with that over the first weekend of the season.”
Warren returns to action Monday, playing St. Marys in their home opener. The Dragons will be looking for revenge against the Dutch, who swept them in a pair of close games last season.
– – –
Arnold 1-0-0-3, Rafalski 1-0-0-2, Berdine 6-2-2-16, Bablak 4-2-2-11, Grosch 4-0-0-9, Gustafson 1-0-0-3, Swanson 2-0-0-4, Barnes 5-3-3-15, Totals 24-7-7-63
Keth 7-1-1-18, Park 2-3-4-7, Krug 4-1-3-9, Baughman 2-1-2-5, Cable 5-1-1-13, Laver 0-0-0-0, Ruhlman 0-0-0-0, Miner 3-0-0-8, Byerly 0-1-2-1, Totals 23-8-13-61
Warren 15 22 12 14 -63
Brookville 18 15 19 9 – 61
Three-point FGs: Warren (8) – Berdine 2, Barnes 2, Arnold, Bablak, Grosch, Gustafson; Brookville (7) – Keth 3, Miner 2, Cable 2