CURWENSVILLE — The Curwensville Area High School boys basketball outscored DuBois Central Catholic 13-4 over the final 3:19 to turn what had been a barn-burner of an Allegheny Mountain League South Division duel into a 58-49 victory in Patton Hall Tuesday night.
The lead changed hands 12 times in the thriller that was tied for the seventh time at 45-45 when Cardinal sharpshooter Justin Miknis drove baseline for a left-handed layup with 4:09 remaining.
Almost a minute later, Christian Bakaysa converted Nick Stewart’s dandy bounce pass in the low post into an old-fashioned three-point play to put the Golden Tide ahead to stay.
Following a Cardinal turnover, Josh Terry rose up for a foul line jumper but alertly spotted Avery Francisco all alone under the hoop for a peep that made it 50-45.
Jonathan Kurtz fanned DCC’s hopes when he cashed the front end of a one-and-one at the foul line and, after retrieving his miss on the second shot, banked in a straightaway three-pointer.
The teams then traded turnovers, with Devan Barrett’s steal leading to a tough, twisting drive by Terry for a 52-49 edge with 2:11 left.
Francisco doubled the lead with a putback and free throw a minute later, and Bakaysa iced it by sinking two foul shots with 48.7 seconds on the clock as the Golden Tide halted a three-game losing streak and balanced their record at 4-4.
The trio of Terry (9), Francisco (5) and Bakaysa (5) accounted for all but one of Curwensville’s 20 fourth-quarter points and combined for 52 overall.
Shots wouldn’t fall for Terry in the first half, but the senior guard bounced back to drain all three of his jumpers from behind the arc in the third quarter and finished with a game-high 20 points.
“Josh was struggling in the first half, and he was a little bit frustrated, but his teammates did a great job of pumping him up and keeping him involved, and we told him, ’Listen, we need you to keep playing and keep fighting through it,’” Golden Tide coach Matt Wassil said. “That first three he hit in the second half kind of gave him his confidence back. And when the second shot went down, it was like ‘Okay, I’m on now.’”
Francisco asserted himself in the low blocks the whole way and wound up with a career-high 18 points, three of his seven field goals on feeds from Terry and two on putbacks, to go with a game-high 11 rebounds.
“Avery was able to finish inside a lot,” Wassil said. “Sometimes, he lets that bother him a little bit, but he just did a tremendous job of powering up tonight. I think what set the tone was he passed up a shot early and I kind of yelled at him and said, ’We want you to shoot the ball when you get it in there.’
“After that, he was aggressive, and it really panned out for him.”
Bakaysa chipped in 14 points, breaking into double figures after going to the bench when he picked up his fourth personal foul at the 6:47 mark of the fourth quarter.
“With as much time as there was, we couldn’t risk him picking up a cheap one if we left him in,” Wassil explained. “We knew with the game being as tight as it was, we wanted him down the stretch. We needed him there in the closing minutes.”
Miknis was high for DCC (4-7) with 17 points, but he was limited to the one game-tying bucket in the final 12 minutes by reserve Nick Stewart.
“Nick’s defense on Miknis was key for us,” Wassil said. “He made him work for a lot of his shots and points. He only had two in that fourth quarter and that was a big difference, holding their best player to two and our three guys getting those bunches.”
Neither team could gain more than a three-point advantage during the first half, which ended with the Golden Tide on top 27-26.
Play got raggedy in the third quarter, with the Cardinals grabbing their biggest lead at 40-35 before Terry canned a three-pointer from the left corner with 10 seconds left.
Curwensville was guilty of 11 turnovers in the period, several due to passes that were either broken up or stolen.
“Some of its we just get too hyper as far as we see an open guy but we don’t realize that we have to manipulate the defense to get the ball to him,” Wassil explained. “One thing we have to be cognizant of is sometimes we have to ball fake a little more or throw bounce passes in there.
“We had some opportunities we squandered because we saw guys open and our initial reaction was just throw it to them, and it was getting deflected.”
But the Golden Tide got it right on most of their possessions in the fourth quarter, limiting their turnovers to three and missing only two shots for that win that left both teams 1-1 in the AML-South.
The Golden Tide is booked for home games against Harmony Thursday and Brockway Friday, the latter a makeup of last week’s postponement.
Jordan Demko scored 18 points for the Curwensville junior varsity in a 44-38 loss.
Allegheny Mountain League South Division — Ridgway 2-0, Curwensville 1-1, DuBois Central Catholic 1-1, Brockway 0-3.
DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC — 49
Jonathan Kurtz 3 1-2 8, Anthony Kness 0 0-0 0, Justin Miknis 7 0-0 17, Thomas Grecco 4 1-1 10, John Swalligan 1 1-2 3, Brandon Walker 2 4-4 8, Peter Downer 0 0-0 0, Harrison Starr 1 0-0 3, Damon Foster 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18 7-9 49.
CURWENSVILLE — 58
Devan Barrett 1 1-2 4, Josh Terry 8 1-2 20, Avery Francisco 7 4-7 18, Christian Bakaysa 5 3-3 14, Noah VonGunden 0 0-0 0, Nick Stewart 1 0-0 2, Dakota Bloom 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 22 9-14 58.
Three-Point Field Goals — DuBois Central Catholic 6 (Kurtz 1, Miknis 3, Grecco 1, Starr 1); Curwensville 5 (Barrett 1, Terry 3, Bakaysa 1).
Score by Quarters
DuBois Central Catholic 18 8 14 9 – 49
Curwensville 17 10 11 20 – 58
Golden Tide Scoreboard:
|12/08||@ Clearfield||52 – 54||0 – 1|
|12/11||WEST BRANCH||57 – 54 ot||1 – 1|
|12/15||@ Mo Valley||61 – 49||2 – 1|
|12/20||GLENDALE||82 – 47||3 – 1|
|12/28||@ Freeport Tourney|
|12/28||vs. Freeport||54 – 85||3 – 2|
|12/29||vs. Mercyhurst Prep||32 – 46||3 – 3|
|01/03||@ Ridgway||32 – 52||3 – 4|
|01/05||BROCKWAY||ppd.||3 – 4|
|01/09||DUBOIS CENTRAL CATH||58 – 49||4 – 4|
|01/16||@ Elk County Catholic|
|02/06||@ DuBois Central Catholic|
|02/07||@ West Branch|