By Jim Hunter
December 28, 2012 7:00 a.m. MEADVILLE —
Meadville guard Zak Price had the Meadville Sertoma Club Holiday Tournament spectators talking to themselves.
Bombing in a school-record 10 three-pointers, Price scored a career-high 37 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 69-48 victory over Seneca in the opening round of the 11th annual Sertoma event at the House of Thrills.
Price & Co. will play St. Francis of Canada — a 67-47 winner over Cochranton — tonight in the championship game at 8. The consi between Cochranton and Seneca will begin at 6:30.
Playing without double-figure scorers Donte Hollingsworth and Malik Anderson due to academic issues, Price took it upon himself to pick up the slack.
Draining treys from all angles and as far as 30 feet away, Price had the crowd buzzing. He was 10-for-16 from three-point range and 13-for-25 overall.
It marks the fifth consecutive game the hot-shooting Price has topped 20 points.
Obviously, his mentor and father Norm Price was thrilled with the scoring outburst.
“Zak has been shooting the ball well as of late, however, he missed some shots in the first half that he normally makes,” said the elder Price. “He got in the zone in the second half.”
The MASH long-range bomber was six-for-eight overall and five-for-five from beyond the arc in the second half.
He was the difference-maker in the game, but it was a substitution by the elder Price in the third quarter that ignited the Bulldogs.
Inserting the lightning-quick sophomore guard Faizon McClure, the ’Dogs picked up the defensive pressure and their 34-33 deficit quickly turned into a 59-34 blowout as the MASH unit scored 26 unanswered points in a span of five minutes.
“At halftime, I told the players they need to step it up and I strongly feel Faizon made the most of his opportunity with his defensive pressure,” said Price.
Of course, Price was the scoring catalyst in the decisive 26-0 run with 16 points. He bombed in four straight 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the third quarter to give the Bulldogs a 51-34 lead heading into the final period.
Leading 64-40 with 4:06 left in the game, Price began clearing his bench. Senior Trevor Martin took advantage of his playing time by sinking a 3-pointer and a layup.
Senior Trevor Clune also hit double figures with 12 points. He also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Price expects to be without Hollingsworth and Anderson at least another week.
“It’s a shame because we were starting to play better,” said Price. “The other kids are going to have to step up. We will be ok.”