ST. MARYS — All Brookville boys’ basketball coach Bud Baughman could do at the end of his team’s 69-59 loss to Elk County Catholic was wave his hands in frustration.
Nothing went the Raiders' way Monday night at Elk County Catholic.
Elk County Catholic shot 22-for-26 (85 percent) on trips to the free-throw line, while Brookville shot 6-for-14 (43 percent), and the Crusaders' offense created more opportunities than the Raiders.
Elk County Catholic also made five three-pointers in the first half, while Brookville struggled to find a rhythm offensively.
"We knew they’d shoot the ball better. I thought our kids played hard," Baughman said. "We had a couple of empty possessions, and that was the game. They also got to the foul line more than we did."
The loss to the Crusaders (17-4, 7-2) prevented Brookville (18-2, 7-2) from winning its first outright District IX League title since 1965. If Elk County Catholic beats Bradford, and Brookville beats DuBois Wednesday, they will be declared co-champions.
Brookville beat Elk County Catholic last Tuesday 53-44.
"They moved the ball well. The difference was they hit five threes in the first half," Baughman said. "We didn’t do a good job defending. Our defense was soft tonight."
ECC's Mitchell Haberberger found open space in Brookville's defense. He continued to cut to the basket, and his Crusader teammates found him for a number of easy lay-ups.
Haberberger made eight field goals and finished with a career-high 21 points.
"We played really well, and offensively, we played with a lot of confidence," Elk County Catholic head coach Aaron Straub said. "If you take away when the wheels fell off and we struggled with their press at the end of the game, we played well."
For the Raiders, Kyle Baughman and Jared Heschke led the team with 14 points apiece.
"Brookville, that's as good of a team as you can put together," Straub said. "They have all the ingredients. Baughman is playing lights out, and their big guys wore us down."