CLARION — The Brookville boys' basketball team won the same way it has all season during its District IX Class AA semifinal playoff win over Brockway Thursday night at Tippin Gymnasium at Clarion University.
The top-seeded Raiders (21-2) used timely shooting and tough defense to grind out a 49-41 win over the fourth-seeded Rovers. Brookville limited Brockway to three points in the fourth quarter.
"I know some of the kids on Brockway and know the character of some of the players," Brookville head coach Bud Baughman said. "The coaches and I knew they were going to come out and play hard like they did the first two games. We got up on them a little bit in the first two game, and they to adjusted, and they came back in a big way."
Rovers head coach Kurt Becker said that his team’s offensive struggles were caused by the Raiders' defense.
"The shots weren’t falling. We had some good looks and hesitated on some other good looks as well," Becker said. "We weren’t moving the ball as well either, and I think that’s because of Brookville’s defense. I told these kids after the game that they have nothing be ashamed of. The only thing we didn’t get tonight was the victory."
Brookville benefitted from a balanced scoring attack and had three players finish with double-digits in scoring. Kyle Baughman (14 points), Zane Hackett (12) and Jared Heschke (11) all attacked the rim and were able to find good scoring opportunities.
Heschke battled hard against Brockway’s Kyle Braun as they fought for position in the low post. In the second quarter, Heschke caught Braun with an incidental elbow, and he was forced to leave the game with a bloody nose.
Braun later returned to the game with his nose stuffed to halt the bleeding.
After Brookville started the game on an 11-2 run, Brockway started to find its rhythm.
The Rovers battled back and took a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter and held a 25-24 lead late in the second quarter.
"Our defense was spotty tonight, and we have to fix that," Baughman said. "We can’t go through spells where we aren’t defending guys, and we need to play 100 percent on defense."
Brookville will play Moniteau in the championship game next Friday. The Warriors upset Smethport, 46-43.