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Youngsville boys take on No. 1 Farrell

The Youngsville boys basketball team would love nothing more than to shock the world.

The Eagles will get just that opportunity when they play in the District 10 Class A semifinals against the Farrell Steelers at 6 tonight in Meadville.

Youngsville enters the tournament as the fourth seed having completed an 8-14 regular season. Farrell — the two-time defending District 10 Class A champions — finished 17-5, including a perfect 8-0 mark in winning the Region 1 championship.

Despite the daunting task ahead, Youngsville coach Lonny Moore is pleased with how the season has progressed for his Eagles.

“I first want to say how proud I am of this group of young men,” said Moore. “We started the season not knowing if we would have enough players for a team and with just one senior and the rest sophomores and freshmen. These kids never complain or argue amongst themselves even while I’ve asked them to learn a lot of different things this season that we have never done.”

As if upsetting the Steelers isn’t formidable enough, Youngsville will have to play today’s game without a pair of starters in senior Carson Chase and sophomore Ethan Beers. Chase and Beers accounted for nearly 20 points per game combined this season.

“It is difficult to replace two great players like that,” said Moore. “As I told the boys all season, it’s time to step up and fill a role. I want this team to enjoy this accomplishment and enjoy the moment. They have earned it.”

The Youngsville offense will rely heavily on the production of the team’s leading scorer in freshman Rylan Benton. Benton — a 5-foot-8 guard — led the team with 15 points per game in his first season and will make his postseason debut. Senior Nathan Lucks also averages double-digit points per game and sophomore Cash Moore will provide the inside presence for the Eagles.

Farrell’s balanced offensive effort includes a pair of players averaging double figures this season. Sophomore guard Danny Odem is far and away the team’s biggest offensive threat at 16.7 points per game while senior forward Dontaye Bell chips in 11 per game of his own.

“We have a tall task facing the No. 1 seed in Farrell,” said Moore. “They have very good athletes all over the court. They are very well coached and are one of the premier Class A schools out there.”

Other key contributors for the Steelers include Julius Phillips (9.7 ppg), Julez Johnson (9.3) and Kabron Smith (5.6). Like the Eagles, Farrell will not be playing at full strength. Senior Simeir Wade — who averaged nearly 10 ppg this season — was ruled ineligible for postseason play due to PIAA transfer rules.

The winner of today’s semifinal will compete in the D10 Class A Championship next weekend against the winner of today’s other semifinal between Rocky Grove and Cochranton.

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