PUNXSUTAWNEY — Marion Center sophomore Brodey Thompson may not have been included on the Carl A. Truance Holiday Classic All-Tournament team, but his three-pointer at the buzzer lifted the Stingers past the Punxsy boys' basketball team Thursday night in front of a near-capacity crowd in Punxsutawney.
The Chucks (3-3) were ahead 49-48 with 9.3 seconds left before Daniel Triponey missed the front end of a one-and-one. As Marion Center's sharp shooting Alex Woodrow, the tournament MVP, raced down court, he was met by one of Punxsy's tallest players — Luke Janocha.
Rather than forcing a shot, Woodrow passed the ball to Thompson in the corner, who nailed the game winner and provided Marion Center with the 51-49 tournament-clinching victory.
It was a great day for Thompson, who scored 29 points during his team's 65-44 junior-varsity victory over the Chucks earlier in the day.
"What do you say? I wouldn't have done anything differently," Punxsy head coach Dirk Neal said. "We knew to defend Woodrow. I was hoping that he was going to shoot that leaner, but credit (Thompson) in the corner — he wanted the ball in his hands.
"It sure looked good when it left his hands," he said. "It's a heart-breaker."
Woodrow scored a game-high 20 points. For the Chucks, Logan Weaver led with 19 points and seven rebounds, Jordan Mesoraco added 11 points and seven rebounds, and both Alex Fedigan (eight points) and Daniel Triponey (seven points) weren't far behind.
Woodrow was joined by Jake Eisenhart as Marion Center's members of the All-Tournament team. Punxsy's Weaver, Triponey and Mesoraco were also All-Tournament players, with Mesoraco earning the Don Bishop "Extra Effort" award.
Punxsy was behind 48-47 with less than a minute remaining when Mesoraco was fouled and hit both free-throws. Following a steal by Corban Cressley, Weaver was on the line with 17.6 seconds remaining, but he couldn't make the foul shot.
Saving the day was Mesoraco, who soared for the offensive rebound, only to call a timeout with 14.0 seconds left. Less than five seconds later, Triponey went to the free-throw line and missed, setting up Thompson's game winner.
Weaver and Triponey are two of Punxsy's best free throw shooters, but couldn't connect during the final 20 seconds of the game.
"Who else would you want at the line?" Neal said. "We shoot a lot of foul shots in practice and try to encourage the kids after running exercises to get to the line and have them get it out of their legs. But both of them came up short, and we just didn't get it out of our legs."
It was a back-and-forth contest all night, as neither team led by more than four points after Alex Fedigan's three-pointer to start the second quarter made it a 19-12 game in favor of the Chucks.
After a halftime tie of 27, Marion Center was ahead 42-38 entering the final quarter, but its lead was never greater than three for the remainder of the game after a free-throw by Thompson made it a 43-40 contest.
A basket by Eisenhart was sandwiched between a three-pointer and two-pointer by Weaver, which tied the game at 45. While Fedigan nailed a long-range jumper, Woodrow went 3-of-6 from the free-throw line as 52.7 seconds remained.
Once Mesoraco hit both free throws to put Punxsy up 49-48, the Chucks wouldn't score again.
Thompson's shot was the difference between a 4-2 and 3-3 record for the Chucks, and the schedule won't become any easier next week.
The Chucks return to the court Wednesday when they visit Indiana before hosting Brookville — which beat Punxsy 50-42 Dec. 17 — two days later.
"We'll find out what we're made of against Indiana and Brookville," Neal said. "It's definitely going to be a barn-burner (against Indiana) — we're going to have to work to win that one — and we know what Brookville's got."
Clarion 48, Redbank 40
Clarion's Michael Beveridge and Redbank Valley's Tyler Ruby were named All-Tournament after the Bobcats earned a 48-40 victory over the Bulldogs in the consolation game.