CURWENSVILLE – Patton Hall was loud and proud for the final game of the Curwensville Golden Tide boys’ basketball season. The fans were treated to a competitive, emotional and physical game between the Tide and the visiting Harmony Owls. In a game that was back and forth throughout all four quarters, the Owls got the victory, 59-58.
In the locker room, head coach Matt Wassil had nothing but praise and admiration for his players after the game.
“Our kids played outstanding tonight; one of the best performances we’ve had all season,” said Wassil. “It just hurts to lose by one.”
Both Harmony and Curwensville came to play and play hard. Curwensville opened the game with a 9-2 run, which would be the biggest lead any team had during the entire game. The Owls answered right back by getting the next nine points, but the Tide were not far behind and retook the lead on a David Kalgren three-point shot. At the end of the first quarter, Curwensville had a 20-15 lead.
At that point it became a game of who could be the most aggressive, as both teams exchanged fouls and free throws. At the end of the half, the Owls and the Tide combined for 16 fouls. Coach Wassil said that the physicality favored both teams.
“We like when it is a bit physical; it benefits us because the other team gets emotional and can make mistakes,” said Wassil.
The play led to many tough rebounds by both teams. Curwensville’s Derek Dixon led the team with nine boards, while Cameron Norris led Harmony with seven.
Despite the physicality, Harmony took a 31-30 lead into halftime after Norris hit his only shot of the night from beyond the arc as time expired. Norris ended the night with ten points.
“We did a great job of keeping them off the boards. Both teams went after the ball each time it missed the bucket, and we got the advantage there,” said Wassil.
Both teams exchanged the lead in the third with Curwensville getting the advantage heading into the final period of play, 43-39. Curwensville opened up a slight cushion as both Ben McGary and Sam Gardner put down early shots. Gardner scored a team high 13 points while teammate Kalgren accounted for 12.
In the final period, Harmony used ball control and fast breaks to retake the lead on different occasions. Eric Welteroth scored ten of his team high 22 points in the final period of play, while Joey Schneider got nine of his 21 points in the last frame.
In the final two minutes of play, Harmony opened up a four point advantage on consecutive shots by Welteroth and Schneider. On the ensuing possession, Gardner drove down and found an open Kalgren on the sidelines, leading to a three-point shot to bring Curwensville to within one. Harmony answered back with an inside basket by Welteroth, but a foul with just over 30 seconds left put Mark Dell’ Antonio on the line.
Dell’ Antonio put down both shots to bring the Tide back to within one. After one final foul by Curwensville, Schneider went to the line for the free-throw. The ball bounced left of the rim and Gardner got a fast break down the lane and got the ball to Ben McGary for the quick jump shot. Unfortunately, the ball missed and was rebounded by Harmony, sealing the victory.
Wassil couldn’t help but praise his players for the effort and the poise they put on the court.
“This was a game between two very good teams. Harmony just made one more play than us,” said Wassil.
Curwensville won the junior varsity game to open the night, 54-38.
The Golden Tide end the year 7-15, and with tears welling up in his eyes, Wassil was quick to give thanks to the seniors on the team.
“I wish we could’ve sent the seniors out with a win. I’m going to miss those guys,” said Wassil. “They have contributed so much to the team. I wish it could’ve ended differently, but we’ll see where we’re at and head into next year.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
HARMONY 15 16 8 20 59
CURWENSVILLE 20 10 13 15 58
FIELD GOALS: HARMONY-25/35; CURWENSVILLE-22/39
THREE-POINT SHOTS: HARMONY-Norris, Schneider; CURWENSVILLE-Gardner (3), Kalgren
TEAM FOULS: HARMONY-14; CURWENSVILLE-17
FOUL SHOTS: HARMONY-7/14; CURWENSVILLE-9/11
HARMONY: Welteroth-11/15, 22 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists; Schneider-10/13, 21 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists; Norris-3/5, 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists
CURWENSVILLE: Gardner-5/8, 13 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists; Kalgren-5/13, 12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists; McGary-3/5, 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists