By Jim Hunter
March 3, 2013 7:00 a.m. FARRELL —
Cochranton came out like gangbusters: outscoring state-ranked Kennedy Catholic, 12-3 in the opening five minutes of action.
An upset special?
Unfortunately, the Cardinals’ Hoosiers-like game never materialized as Kennedy Catholic showed its state-ranked skills with a 24-3 scoring outburst in the third quarter to capture the District 10 Class A championship with a 67-45 win on Saturday at Farrell High School.
The season isn’t over for Cochranton (16-9). Coach Gary Egli’s Cards will play Serra Catholic, the District 7 No. 2 seed, on Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
Cochranton may be without the services of its leading scorer Madison Bernarding. With 6:31 left in the game, Bernarding fell hard to the floor and suffered a foot injury. She did not return to the game.
“As of right now, the medical staff isn’t telling me the severity of the injury,” said Egli shortly after the game. “She wasn’t able to put any pressure on the foot at the time of the injury, but she was able to after the game.”
Bernarding, who entered the game averaging 13.3 points per game, will be sorely missed if she is unable to go.
How good is Bernarding? Just ask Kennedy Catholic.
The Cardinals’ junior guard opened the game with two mid-range jumpers to give the Redbirds an early 6-0 lead with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter.
Bernarding had one more statement “J” in the opening stanza — a 3-pointer from the right wing to increase the Cardinals’ lead to 12-3 with 2:32 left on the clock.
“We came out mentally prepared and we were clicking,” said Egli.
Kennedy Catholic (22-2) had seen enough. The Golden Eagles put the clamps on Bernarding as the Cardinals’ standout was held scoreless the remainder of the game and the Redbirds weren’t the same squad.
Cochranton started falling apart at the beginning of the second quarter.
Misfiring on all four attempts from the floor and committing four turnovers, the Cardinals’ 14-13 first-quarter lead went away as Kennedy Catholic opened the second period with a 6-0 run to take a 19-14 lead with 5:54 left on the clock.
Trailing 25-16, the Cardinals leaned on junior guard Kendell Dickson to get back into the game. Dialing long distance, Dickson bombed in two consecutive 3-pointers to get the Redbirds within 25-22 with 1:58 left in the first half.
The three-point deficit was as close as Cochranton got.
Third-quarter action was a nightmare for Egli & Co. CHS squad committed 10 turnovers and made only one-of-seven shots from the floor as Kennedy Catholic took total control of the game.
“We quit executing in the third quarter,” said Egli. “For some reason, we were in a hurry ... trying to catch up too fast — hoping to score six-to-eight points on one possession. We lost our focus.”
Egli witnessed further agony in the fourth quarter when Bernarding went down with her foot injury.
Game Notes: Dickson and Morghan Egli led Cochranton with 12 and 11 points, respectively. ... Following in the footsteps of her father’s (Mike) long-range shooting skills, Dickson was four-for-six from three-point range. Mike Dickson starred for Cochranton in the early-1980s. ... Morghan Egli — who recorded a triple-double against Farrell earlier in the week — had another strong game underneath with nine rebounds and five blocked shots ... On the Cochranton boys’ basketball side, the early report on Nick Dickson’s knee injury suffered in Friday’s 58-37 loss to Kennedy Catholic isn’t good. According to sources, Dickson tore both the ACL and MCL in his left knee. More tests will be done Monday. The junior standout showed his school spirit by attending the girls’ game on crutches.