The Lakeview Sailors have one heck of a story to tell their future children.
They played the No. 1 team in the state to the wire.
Lakeview’s magical season came to a painful end on Saturday night as Beaver Falls — the top-ranked Class AA team in the state by PennLive.com/Patriot-News — eliminated the Sailors with a 56-44 win in the PIAA quarterfinals at Edinboro University’s McComb Fieldhouse.
Coach Gary Burke’s Sailors finished the year with a 23-5 record.
“You can’t even imagine how proud I am of these kids,” said Burke. “They put their heart and soul into this season. They are hurting right now, but when they reflect back on this season, they will be extremely proud of what they accomplished ... the elite eight.”
Although the Sailors were on the losing end, the scene afterwards was priceless: The Lakeview fans giving their players encouraging hugs and pats on their backs on their way to the locker room.
“The support our community has given us this year has been unbelievable,” said Burke.
Burke was gracious in his post-game interview, but it was obvious the Sailors’ boss was steaming inside.
Better ball-handling and execution and ... the Sailors could have upset top-ranked Beaver Falls. Pressured full court by the lightning-quick Tigers, Lakeview committed an uncharacteristic 24 turnovers, 10 of which came in the third quarter.
“We didn’t handle their pressure as well as I hoped,” he said. “You can’t take a break against them and they wore us down. We made some unforced errors which hurt us. We didn’t have enough ball handlers to beat their pressure.”
Beaver Falls attacked Lakeview immediately, jumping out to a 7-0 lead after forcing the Sailors into three turnovers in the opening three minutes.
Burke and company were forced to play catch-up the rest of the way.
After sinking a running six-foot jumper, senior Dalton Boggs bombed in a 3-pointer to get the Sailors to within 7-5 with 3:37 remaining in the first quarter.
Beaver Falls showed signs of blowing the game open in the second period — scoring 10 unanswered points to take a 22-10 lead with 5:20 showing on the clock.
Lakeview’s achilles heal again: Three turnovers during the spurt.
The Sailors kept fighting. Down 25-14, senior Casey Greggs drained a 3-pointer and Brandon Rice scored on an offensive rebound to get Lakeview within 25-19 with 1:59 remaining in the first half.
Then, in the closing seconds, Boggs scored on a breakaway to cut the Sailors’ deficit to 27-21 heading into the locker room at halftime.
The mighty “mo” sliding to Lakeview’s bench? It appeared that way.
On Lakeview’s opening possession in the third quarter, Coty Gander scored on a three-point play to cut Beaver Fall’s lead to 27-24.
The Sailors couldn’t quite get over the hump.
The Tigers answered with six quick points to increase their lead to 33-24 with 3:32 left in the third quarter.
Trailing 35-31 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Lakeview had a chance to get within two points, but Gander’s inside attempt went around the rim and off.
A la the third quarter, Beaver Falls didn’t allow Lakeview to get any closer as the Tigers outscored the Sailors 7-2 to take a 42-33 lead with 4:39 left in the game.
Boggs connected on a 3-pointer to get the Sailors within 46-41 with 3:25 remaining on the clock and had a possession to get even closer, but ... the Tigers forced another turnover.
Game over. The Tigers sealed the deal by making six-of-eight free throws in a span of 48 seconds to increase their lead to 52-41.
Lakeview’s main three — Boggs, Greggs and Gander — hit double figures in their final game. Boggs and Greggs tossed in 14 and 12 points, respectively, and Gander scored 10 and also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
The Lakeview Sailors have one heck of a story to tell their future children.
Breese lone local to reach Class AA finals
A busy and entertaining Day 2 of wrestling at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey came and went, as did the dreams of a gold medal for a handful of local wrestlers.
The one local wrestler that doesn’t apply to is Lakeview’s Sam Breese, who had the Giant Center crowd in aw during his two matches Friday. The two bouts equated to two wins, which means a shot a defending his championship.
Lee, Wheeling survive Day 2 in Hershey
Ehrin Lee’s smile following his quarterfinal win Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships told the whole story.
Lee has had his eyes on the state championships all season long, and just getting there wasn’t enough. The Titusville 160-pounder has wrestled like one of the best grapplers in the state during the tournament thus far, and his 3-2 overtime win over Northampton’s Bobby Fehr proved that if nothing else, he’s one of the four best wrestlers in his weight class.
Cards can’t slow Vincentian
The starters on the Cochranton boys basketball team probably slept like logs on Friday night.
They left every ounce on the hardwood of Meadville High School’s House of Thrills, going up against the high-intensity attack of Vincentian Academy in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
McLane rolls past Neshannock
Sarah Jay has made a habit of presenting her players with in depth scouting reports prior to each and every game.
But the report she handed them on Neshannock, the Lady Lancers’ first round opponent in the PIAA Class AA playoffs, was nothing like they had seen before.
Class AA first round filled with highs, lows for locals
It was a day full of highs and lows for the 11 local Class AA wrestlers on the opening day of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey.
For some, it was business as usual, and for others, the atmosphere of a crowded Giant Center proved to be a little much. By the time the preliminary and Round 1 consolation rounds were finished, eight wrestlers are still alive, with state wrestling experience proving to be invaluable Thursday morning.
Lee, Wheeling stay in hunt for Class AAA state title
A win is a win, and when it comes to the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships, as long as your score reads higher in the end, it really doesn’t matter how you get there.
During the preliminary round of the tournament Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center in Hershey, the six local qualifiers certainly had mixed results, but in the end, two wrestlers are still in the championship bracket, exactly where they want to be.
Cards look to slow down Vincentian
“The best way to sum it up is,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy, “it’s like they’re down five and there are 30 seconds to go. Only, they play like that for the entire 32 minutes.”
McCurdy is talking about the Vincentian Academy boys basketball team, which employs a style that’s ... well ... calling it up-tempo just doesn’t seem to suffice.
Lancers get tough draw in opener
One may think that by winning a District 10 title and getting paired up with the seventh seed out of District 7 for the first round of the state playoffs, that said champion would have a pretty choice matchup.
Yet, that’s not how things shook out for the General McLane girls basketball team. The D-10 champion Lady Lancers drew a challenging foe in Neshannock.
’Dogs rout Bison to reach title game
Having defeated Fort LeBoeuf by a grand total of 24-0 in their previous three meetings, the tension wasn’t exactly palpable for the Meadville Bulldogs hockey team as it squared off with the Bison in a Lakeshore Hockey League semfinal game on Thursday night at Erie Insurance Arena.
Calvary wins opener
The Calvary Baptist girls basketball team won its opening game of the National Christian School Athletic Association Tournament on Thursday at Family First Sports Park.
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