By Lisa Byers
March 1, 2013 7:00 a.m. MEADVILLE —
In many years past, going into a District 10 title game against Kennedy Catholic would be slightly intimidating for a Crawford County opponent. After all, the Golden Eagles have quite the résumé when it comes to District 10 championships.
Kennedy Catholic, in fact, has 21 District 10 titles to its name. It won 12 straight from 1998 to 2009.
But Cochranton knows it has the ability to contend with the Golden Eagles. It proved that back on Jan. 15.
The Cardinals had the lead with about a minute-and-a-half to play, but fell 69-65 in the teams’ first meeting since last season’s District 10 Class A semifinals.
Cochranton is hoping tonight is the night it finally breaks through against the Golden Eagles.
Cochranton and Kennedy Catholic meet at 6:30 p.m. at Slippery Rock University with the District 10 Class A title on the line.
“Having played them already and played them well enough to win without playing our best, we feel confident going into this,” Cochranton interim head coach Scott McCurdy said. “We like the fact that they are the heavy favorite. I don’t think we were real comfortable being the favorite the last game (against Eisenhower).
“We played well and got the win, but I don’t think we were comfortable. All the pressure is on them.”
The Cards enter the contest at 16-8, following a 53-34 win over Eisenhower in Tuesday’s semifinals. Kennedy Catholic advanced with a 68-46 win over Vision Quest and is now 16-6 on the year.
Leading the Golden Eagles in scoring is 6-foot-2 senior swingman Jeff Thompkins, who is averaging around 17 points per game. Senior forward/center Mac Hartman, listed at 6-foot-5, is averaging 14 points per game and junior point guard Chris James 13 points per outing.
It was Thompkins and Hartman who did the damage against the Cards the first time. Thompkins scored 19 points and Hartman 17.
They were out-done, though, by the tandem of Nick Dickson and Logan Herzberger, who scored 21 points each for the Cardinals.
“It’s going to come down to who can minimize mistakes and capitalize,” McCurdy said.
Both Kennedy and Cochranton have already clinched a spot in the PIAA state playoffs. The champion gets the WPIAL fourth seed in the opening round on March 8, while the District 10 runner-up gets the WPIAL runner-up.
Cochranton is looking for its first boys basketball District 10 title since 1983. Dickson’s dad, Dave Dickson, played on that team.