CURWENSVILLE – Fans who\’ve been on the edge of their Patton Hall seats Friday night and again Monday night have to be wondering how the Curwensville Area High School cagers can possibly be a sub-.500 team.
After leading most of the Moshannon Valley League game, the Golden Tide couldn\’t put West Branch away with a 54-49 lead going to the final two minutes, saw top scorer David Kalgren uncharacteristically miss two free throws with 3.9 seconds left, fell behind by four points two minutes into overtime and then rallied for a thrilling 62-60 victory on Ben McGary\’s two foul shots with 5.4 seconds on the clock Monday night.
Couple that finish with Friday\’s 55-54 thriller against Kane, and that\’s two nail-biters against playoff-bound opponents in four nights, though the Moshannon Valley League scrap was in doubt until standout Warrior guard Chris Dotts\’ open three-pointer from the top of the key bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
\”These last two games, we\’ve really dug deep,\” coach Matt Wassil said after Curwensville improved to 8-11. \”Our kids showed a lot of pride in themselves. There were times they could have folded, and they didn\’t. They stuck with it and came out of it.\”
Losing after expending so much energy would have been a heart-breaking for the Golden Tide, which was on the short end of the score only two times for a total of 47 seconds in regulation.
West Branch (14-6), needing a victory to remain on Harmony\’s heels in the MVL chase, kept the pressure on throughout and forced the extra period when Ryan Wesesky knocked down a three-pointer with 1:05 left for the only Warrior points by a non-starter and Chris Beveridge drove the right side of the lane to make a difficult scooping layup with 25 seconds remaining, knotting the score at 54-54.
No one felt worse than Kalgren after was unable to repeat his late heroics against Kane, but he received a pass from Wassil after finishing with a career-high 32 points and eight rebounds against another big front line.
\”Without his performance, we\’re not there at the end, and that\’s what I told him,\” Wassil said. \”(I said) \’Shake those free throws off, because we\’re not where we needed to be it if isn\’t for your effort.
\”His game speaks for itself. David had another excellent game. He has great body control, and that\’s how he\’s able to score so easily inside sometimes, even against those bigger guys. He just has a knack of shielding the ball with his body. He does a great job of protecting the ball when he goes up. And he does have a soft touch inside.\”
Kalgren, who had scored all 14 of Curwensville\’s points in the third quarter, redeemed himself in overtime after West Branch went ahead for the first time since the second period. Dotts drove for two and then set up Ethan Lidgett for a peep that gave the Warriors their biggest advantage, 58-54, with 2:55 remaining.