By Pete Chiodo
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.
Sailors seek revenge
Lakeview’s seniors have been playing basketball for a good long while. And they will no doubt recall their team’s 2011 meeting with Mercyhurst Prep in the District 10 playoffs.
Lakeview led for almost the entire game. But Prep took over in the final minute, pulling out a heartbreaking 48-47 come-from-behind victory over the Sailors.
Today at 6:30 p.m., the Sailors will be looking for a little revenge — as well as a berth in the D-10 championship game — as they take on the Lakers in the District 10 Class AA semifinals at Mercyhurst University.
Lakeview (20-3) advanced to the semis with a 48-37 victory over Titusville during Friday’s quarterfinal round. Mercyhurst Prep (16-7) moved on by beating Sharpsville 65-46 in the quarters.
Both Lakeview and Mercyhurst Prep are honorable mentions in Class AA according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
The winner of the game will move on to the D-10 title tilt, where it will face the winner of today’s other semifinal between West Middlesex and Fairview.
West Middlesex (20-3) is the No. 3-ranked Class AA team in the state according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News. The Big Reds advanced with an 82-44 victory over Iroquois.
Fairview (15-8) was a 59-46 victor over Saegertown.
Region 6 clash in semis
The District 10 Class AAA semifinals are set to begin today — or should we say — the Region 6 tournament. The top four teams in the region will hook up for the third time this season.
General McLane (18-5) should feel quite comfortable going up against East (12-11), knowing that they beat them twice this season already. Back on Jan. 4, the Lancers cruised to a 60-41 win over the Warriors and continued their dominance a few weeks later with a 76-55 win.
Round three takes place tonight at 8 at Merychurst University.
In the quarterfinals, Jaymon Mason and Quinn Thompson teamed up to lead the Lancers over Farrell 70-55. Mason scored 26 points — 20 coming in the second half — and Thompson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.
East squeaked out a 46-43 win over Region 5 champion Hickory to reach the semifinals.
On the other side of the bracket, Region 6 champion Girard (19-4) will look to reach the District 10 finals with a win over Strong Vincent (13-10).
The YellowJackets and Colonels split the season series, making tonight’s match-up at 8 p.m. at Edinboro University the rubber game. On Jan. 10, Strong Vincent defeated Girard 54-42. The YellowJackets bounced back with a 10-point victory of their own, defeating the Colonels 70-56 on Feb. 5.
In the quarterfinals, Girard beat Sharon 47-43 and Strong Vincent ousted Meadville 73-41.
If McLane and Girard were to meet in the finals, the Lancers would have a third shot at revenge. During the regular season, the YellowJackets defeated the Lancers 48-44 on Jan. 25 and 47-46 in the regular season finale on Feb. 15.
Pete Chiodo can be reached at 724-6370 ext. 275 or by email at email@example.com.