SAEGERTOWN — Those YellowJackets sure can sting. Just ask the Saegertown boys basketball team which fell hard to Region 3 juggernaut Girard on Friday at the Panthers Den, 53-27.

“Girard was just fantastic in all phases of the game,” said Saegertown head coach Billy Noel. “Their execution was just uncanny. They really get after it, and they really work hard to get you out of what you want to do.”

Saegertown — even playing without starting forward Kyle Beatty, who missed the game due to illness — had a pretty good grasp of things in the first quarter. Ben Wetsell was in the books with six points and six rebounds. And Zach Beatty tallied a 2- and a 3-pointer to add five more markers. The Cats found themselves up 11-10 after the opening quarter.

But then came the next two quarters.

Girard put on a defensive clinic in the second frame, allowing Saegertown to take just six shots from the floor, sinking one — a 3-pointer by Beatty. That was it for the Panthers’ offense in that quarter.

Meanwhile, Saegertown tried out a zone defense so Girard opened up its 3-point game. Mike Droll hit one, Jeff McDonald had one and Andrew Rickard tossed one in. That was among the 15 points the YellowJackets would score in the stanza, taking a 25-14 lead into halftime.

“They just wait and wait and wait,” Noel remarked about Girard’s incomparable patience on the offensive end, mixed with its keen ball-protection ability and dead-eye from the arc.

That patience enabled the Jackets to slow things down in the third quarter. McDonald eventually added four more points to finish the night with 10. And Rickard had four more to score a game-best 14.

On the other end of the court, things didn’t get much better for Saegertown. Jared Campbell laid one in to start the frame. Josh Ray added a put-back with about 1:30 to go. And that was all for the Cats in the third. The YellowJackets were up 37-18 with a period to play.

In the fourth, Zach Beatty added his third trey of the night and bucketed another deuce to finish the game with a team-best 13 points. Casey Handel added a pair of free throws with around 30 seconds left, which were, interestingly, the only foul shots taken the entire game.

For the ’Jackets in the fourth, Coltin Ferrick tallied eight points underneath to finish the game with 10. Corey Carr scored four points and he would finish with 10, giving Girard four players in double figures.

“The last two weeks we’ve been pretty banged up,” said Girard coach Darrin Mayes. “Coltin Ferrick has a busted up leg. We weren’t sure how much he would play, but he did a nice job. And Andrew Rickard has had hip problems, but he played a good game.

“But this is the way this team has been all year. They’ve been able to step up in the face of adversity. And they did it tonight against a team like Saegertown, which is a very good offensive team and they play hard on defense. So, I’m proud of my ball club.”

With the win, Girard stays in command of Region 3. The YellowJackets are 18-4 overall and 12-1 in the region.

Saegertown slips to 14-8 overall and 7-5 in Region 3.

“We have to challenge ourselves,” said Noel. “We have two games to play, two games to get where we want to be. We have to take care of a pretty good Northwestern team (on Feb. 4) and then we go up to Mercyhurst Prep (on Feb. 8).”

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