Third time’s a charm?
Often, that’s said in a positive, hopeful way. But there is a flip side to that saying.
For instance, what if it’s your side that has already won during the first two tries?
The Cochranton boys basketball team is in such a situation, and is looking to avoid getting charmed by Eisenhower. The two squads meet up for the third time this season today at 6:30 p.m. at Edinboro’s McComb Fieldhouse in a District 10 Class A semifinal showdown.
“We saw them twice,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy. “We handled them pretty well both games. But it doesn’t matter who you play, to play the same team three times and beat them three times is always a challenge.”
Cochranton (14-8) first met up with Eisenhower (9-14) on Jan. 5 in Cochranton and trampled the Knights 57-30. The rematch took place on Feb. 5 in Russell. The Cardinals won that one 65-45.
Still, McCurdy is careful to guard against a letdown in the third meeting.
“We’re aware of what they are capable of. We’re aware,” he said. “But our guys are focused. We have a mission in mind and that starts (today) against Eisenhower. We need to take care of business. We’re not letting our guard down, that’s for sure.”
McCurdy watched the game between Ike and Commodore Perry in the D-10 quarterfinal round on Friday. Eisenhower advanced with a 65-47 victory over the Panthers. And McCurdy says he witnessed a determined Knights squad go to work.
“They came out, Eisenhower, real intense,” said McCurdy. “They were looking to set the tone early. They had it in mind to pressure Commodore Perry and make them fold early. To Commodore Perry’s credit, they bounced back and made a game of it for two and a half quarters.”
If Eisenhower comes out with that same intensity tonight, it’s going to be imperative that Cochranton either matches or exceeds it. No slow starts allowed for the Cardinals, who, due to receiving a bye in the quarterfinals, haven’t played since Feb. 15 except for the scrimmage against Titusvlle last week.
“(Eisenhower) has that advantage. They got one in. They got over those first-round jitters,” said McCurdy. “That’s what we tell our kids, they’re one up on us. They have a win already. We can’t have a slow start. They’re going to be ready to play.”
Eisenhower has a few guys that can score points. The Knights had three in double digits against Perry. Senior guard Ryan Williams had a team-high 20 points. Senior swingman Aaron Lundmark scored 15. And sophomore forward Jarret Johnson had 13.
Lundmark also scored 15 against Cochranton in the Feb. 5 game. Senior guard Colin Shine has also played well against the Cardinals, scoring 16 in the Jan. 5 meeting and eight in the rematch in February.
Cochranton will look to counter with its well-stocked arsenal of offensive weapons. The Cards are led this season by junior guards Nick Dickson and Logan Herzberger. Dickson is averaging around 15 points per game and Herzberger scores about 13 a game. Fellow juniors Josh Vanderhoof and Garrett Adams are averaging around 9 or 10 a night.
The winner of the Cochranton-Eisenhower game will move on to the District 10 title game where it will face the winner of tonight’s other semifinal between Kennedy Catholic (16-6) and Vision-Quest (9-14).
That game, which takes place today at 6:30 p.m. at Sharon High School, is another example of two teams meeting for the third time. Kennedy beat VisionQuest 99-60 on Jan. 11 and then 77-40 on Feb. 1.
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