CURWENSVILLE — After finally getting into the win column last Thursday, the Curwensville Golden Tide looked to hit the hardwood for two-straight, and get their first win of the season on their home court inside Patton Hall. The visiting Crusaders of Elk County Catholic were ready to try to halt any kind of hope for the home squad.
Right at the opening tip, Curwensville jumped to a quick lead on a pair of baskets and a foul shot. That would ultimately be the only time the Tide held the lead on the night.
The undefeated Crusaders (14-0) picked up the pace over the next 29 minutes, hitting double-digit scoring in three of the four quarters, cruising to a 64-48 victory that was not as close as the score indicated.
Tide coach Matt Wassil saw his team struggle through the middle of the game, and not gain any footing until it was too late.
“We played a really good first quarter, a real lousy second quarter, and obviously I thought we played a really good fourth quarter. But I didn’t think our third quarter was really that bad,” he said. “We just didn’t do a lot of good things in that second quarter, and when they started to get things going, we started to panic, and we started turning the ball over a little more.
“Once we got settled down, I thought we played really well against them, but you simply can’t have a second quarter like that against a team like them.”
After falling behind 5-0, the Crusaders began hitting stride, and although at times it seemed physical, the play was legal, and officials let it go. Elk County Catholic then pushed out to a 10-0 run at 4:57 in the first quarter, following the second timeout by Wassil in the first three minutes. After one quarter, Curwensville was down 15-13 after a late push brought the deficit to a single possession.
The second quarter, however, went completely in favor of the visitors, as they took advantage of seven Tide turnovers, while holding Curwensville to 4-for-9 from the floor. Meanwhile, on offense, the Crusaders had six different players add points to the board, as they added 23 to the tally to head into the locker room with a 38-21 advantage.
“They kind of ran some ‘rub’ screens. They are running close enough to you, that when they go to cut through, they are bumping into guys,” Wassil said about how the opposition played in the second quarter. “I didn’t think our guys on the ball were tight enough, and that’s why they were getting caught in those ‘rub’ screens, and the guy that was covering the cutter wasn’t stepping out and helping.
“They were getting into the lane way too much on us.”
Overall, of the 12 players for Elk County Catholic that saw minutes on the court, nine of them added points. Alec Wehler led the team with 11, while Alex Breindel added another 10.
Curwensville came out in the second half and played a better game than what was seen in the second stanza, despite being down by 17. Although points were not coming as Wassil hoped, his biggest improvements to him came when his team was on defense.
“It was more about guarding guys. I thought we were too tentative, like we were worried about them going by us, but it was just giving them more space to get into the lane, and make decisions,” he said. “When we let them get so far into the lane before we help, then they have choices. We had to help earlier, get up, and guard guys.
“One of the things we did is when they were cutting through, and outrunning some interference, we adjusted to where our guys were able to help each other, rather than just cut and drive.”
Curwensville finally settled down in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Crusaders 18-9 in the final eight minutes, fueled by nine points from Christian Bakaysa. He led all scorers with 19 points, while adding in four rebounds and a pair of blocks. Dakota Bloom had his best quarter in the final stanza despite fouling out, as he picked up four points but also added in four of his six steals.
Curwensville dropped the opening junior varsity game in a mercy-ruled 59-18 contest.
The Tide (1-9) have no time to rest as they are back on the court Wednesday night as they travel to West Branch. Wassil already knows he needs to get his team prepared, and knows in order to compete, they have to keep one player in their line of sight for all 32 minutes.
“Obviously, we have to know where Larry Cowder is at all the time. He’s their main scorer, he can shoot, and he’s a pretty good ball handler,” Wassil said. “Offensively, they like to spread out their zone and take risks in the passing lanes. We have to use ball fakes and be aware of where guys are so that we’re not throwing passes away.
“We got to pound the glass, also, because against the zone it’s hard to box out. If we shoot and miss, we have to make sure our big guys are getting to the glass.”
Junior varsity will tip at 6 p.m. with varsity following.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Elk County Catholic 15 23 17 9 – 64
Curwensville 13 8 9 18 – 48
Elk County Catholic – 64
O’Leary 0 0-0 0, Lindemuth 2 2-2 7, Wehler 3 4-4 11, Brock 0 0-0 0, Hoffman 4 1-3 9, Uberti 1 1-1 3, Bauer 1 0-0 2, Klawuhn 2 1-2 6, Wortman 4 1-1 9, Gregory 1 0-0 2, Kraus 0 0-0 0, Schneider 1 3-4 5, Breindel 4 0-0 10. TOTALS 23 13-17 64.
Curwensville – 48
Terry 2 0-0 6, Bloom 4 0-1 8, Irwin 2 2-6 6, Bakaysa 7 5-10 19, Guiffre 1 0-0 2, Lansberry 1 0-0 2, Francisco 2 1-1 5, Miller 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 19 8-18 48.
Elk Co. Catholic/Curwensville
Three-Point Shots: Klawuhn, Breindel (2)/Terry (2)
Foul Outs: Irwin, Bloom
Golden Tide Scoreboard:
Date Opponent Score Record
12/07 @ Clearfield 32 – 77 0 – 1
12/10 @ Mo Valley 26 – 56 0 – 2
12/14 RIDGWAY 26 – 65 0 – 3
12/17 @ Penns Manor 53 – 66 0 – 4
12/19 GLENDALE 45 – 66 0 – 5
12/21 @ Leechburg 45 – 83 0 – 6
01/04 @ Brockway 54 – 67 0 – 7
01/08 @ DuBois Central 36 – 67 0 – 8
01/10 @ Harmony 64 – 59 1 – 8
01/15 ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC 48 – 64 1 – 9
01/16 @ West Branch
01/18 @ Kane
01/22 @ Ridgway
01/28 WEST BRANCH
01/30 @ Glendale
02/01 @ Johnsonburg
02/05 DUBOIS CENTRAL
02/11 MO VALLEY