Raiders primed to defend district title

BROOKVILLE — The Brookville boys' basketball team is ready to get back to business after having a longer than expected break from basketball.

After having eight days off since clinching a share of the District IX League title last Wednesday, the top-seeded Raiders (20-2, 8-2 District IX League) will play fourth-seeded Brockway (12-10, 2-4 AML South) at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the semifinals of the District IX Class AA playoffs at Clarion University

Brookville beat Brockway twice this season, a 57-42 win to open the season Dec. 10 and a 67-53 win Dec. 30.

Head coach Bud Baughman said that he hasn't been happy with the way his team has practiced this week.

"I think the kids might be tired of me," Baughman said jokingly. "We were supposed to have a scrimmage Monday, but we lost a day because of school getting canceled. Honestly, I haven't liked what I've seen in practice all week. Maybe we need to play somebody."

Even though the Raiders beat the Rovers by double digits twice this season, Baughman expects the game to be close. Baughman thinks Brockway's backcourt, which features three players — Nick Anderson (13.5 points per game), Cody Anderson (12.4) and Fabio Fortunato (10.1) — who average double digits for points scored on the season will cause problems for Brookville.

"They have good guards who shoot the ball well, penetrate and kick the ball out for a good look," Baughman said. "They also do a lot of presses and traps."

Brookville has four returning starters — Kyle Baughman, Dan Ion, Zane Hackett and Jared Heschke — from last year's district championship team.

Hackett and Heschke combined to give Brockway headaches during the team's first two meetings. Hackett scored 21 points the first game and 18 in the second. Heschke added 15 points in the second meeting.

"I expect (Brockway) coach (Kurt) Becker to come up with a different scheme to try and adjust accordingly," Baughman said. "But I'm anticipating our big guys contributing just like they have all year."