Golden Tide Defense the Difference in Victory over Black Knights

CURWENSVILLE — It wasn’t looking like a pretty game in the first few minutes inside Patton Hall between the Curwensville Golden Tide and the visiting Black Knights of Moshannon Valley.  In the first half, combined, the teams hit nine shots from the floor, and ate away at the clock.

But, it was also a showcase of defensive strength, and for Curwensville, that carried over into the second half.  The Tide held the Black Knights in check for 32 minutes, leading from opening tip to the final whistle to achieve the 45-35 victory, their second win in the last three games. Mo Valley won the early season encounter between the two, 56-26.

Head coach Matt Wassil joked that he wasn’t sure during the first half of the game was being played on the hardwood or on the grass at Riverside Stadium, saying, “…it felt like we punted three times there in the first half.  I wasn’t sure if we were in the right sport.”

He did, however, note that what kept them in the game was how they defended their court despite the offensive woes.

“What I was impressed with from our guys, in the first half, is that when our offensive struggled, our defense didn’t take a dive.  Sometimes that can happen when the ball is not going in the hoop, you don’t have that intensity on defense,”  he said.  “That wasn’t the case.  Our defense carried us in that first half when we struggled offensively.”

Curwensville got their first basket at the 6:34 mark of the first quarter, rushing out to a 5-0 lead before Mo Valley got their basket a few minutes later.  But after one quarter, it was only 6-5.  The second quarter was similar as the two traded a few shots from the floor, but Curwensville used foul shooting to hold a 15-10 advantage into the break.

Moshannon Valley looked to gain a bit of momentum in the third quarter, despite Curwensville’s Ty Terry hitting a pair of three’s to open the scoring.  But, Jacob Matchock was starting to gain some confidence as he could tell his teammates were feeding off his energy, something Wassil was noticing in the way they played in the second half.

“I thought in a way, a lot that Mo Valley did were just the hustle plays.  I thought they beat us there.  Matchock got them going.  His effort sparked them in a lot of ways, and that got them going offensively,” he said.

Matchock led the Black Knights with 11 points in a shortened night as he would foul out in the fourth quarter.

For Curwensville, their biggest asset on the court was senior Avery Francisco.  He would not score any points on the night, but it was his effort on the boards at both ends of the court that made for a stellar performance.  He finished with 15 rebounds, four assists, plus four blocks in the victory.

“Tonight was like watching him last year, where he just cleaned everything.  If it was around him, it stuck to him like velcro.  I thought with that, one of the best plays he made was with 15 seconds left when he got that rebound underneath, but was smart enough to kick it to the outside knowing we didn’t need the points.  He played hard and smart.”

Curwensville’s scoring came courtesy of only three players.  Terry had 14, Dakota Bloom accounted for seven, while Christian Bakaysa put forth a game-high 24 points.  He was only one rebound short of a double-double.

Wassil said afterwards it was one of the strangest games that he’s coached because of the first half, but even with the low scoring, his team put in a lot of effort.  He went on to state that the biggest asset that might have gotten lost had they lost was the effort of his bench players coming in and giving the starters a break.  On this night, they may not have scored, but what they did was maintain the gap until the starters had a chance to get back on the court.

“Guys like Lincoln Guiffre, Trevor Lansberry, Adam Miller; they all gave us positive minutes.  What we’re trying to teach these guys is that it’s not always points from the bench that are productive, sometimes it’s minutes,” Wassil said.  “When we can play and keep us where we’re at with those guys coming off the bench, that’s a tribute to our bench players.”

Curwensville (4-16) must reset as they return to Patton Hall on Friday night to host Harmony, who beat them just over a month ago at Harmony.  Wassil is already anticipating a similar game.

“It was a competitive game up there that went into overtime.  We expect the same here, and we have to be ready to play,”  he said.  “I think our kids are excited.  I think this win gives us confidence, so we’ll see where it takes us.”

There will be no junior varsity contest between Curwensville and Harmony as the two teams will face off at 8 p.m. as part of a Tide double-header with the Lady Tide hosting the Lady Bison of Clearfield to begin the night.

SCORE BY QUARTER

Moshannon Valley   5   5   12   13  –  35
Curwensville   9   6   13   17  –  45

Moshannon Valley – 35

A. Kitko 1 1-2 3, Matchock 5 1-2 11, Murawski 3 1-2 7, Bacher 1 2-3 4, Butler 0 0-0 0, Reed 0 1-2 1, M. Kitko 2 0-0 6, Dufour 0 0-1 0, Clarkson 1 0-0 3.  TOTALS 13 6-12 35.

Curwensville – 45

Francisco 0 0-0 0, Bakaysa 8 8-15 24, Irwin 0 0-0 0, Guiffre 0 0-1 0, Bloom 3 0-0 7, Terry 3 5-6 14, Lansberry 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS 14 13-22 45.

GAME STATISTICS
Moshannon Valley/Curwensville

Shooting:  13-50/14-47

Rebounds:  26/30

Fouls:  23/16

Turnovers:  22/21

Three-Point Shots:  M. Kitko (2), Clarkson/Bloom, Terry (3)

Foul Outs;  Matchock, Murawski

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 40 – 56 1 – 10
01/18 @ Kane 43 – 62 1 – 11
01/21 HARMONY ppd. 1 – 11
01/22 @ Ridgway 23 – 55 1 – 12
01/25 BROCKWAY 63 – 60 2 – 12
01/28 WEST BRANCH 48 – 53 2 – 13
01/30 @ Glendale ppd. 2 – 13
02/01 @ Johnsonburg 26 – 62 2 – 14
02/05 DUBOIS CENTRAL 52 – 78 2 – 15
02/08 SHEFFIELD 73 – 52 3 – 15
02/09 @ Glendale 39 – 60 3 – 16
02/11 MO VALLEY ppd. 3 – 16
02/13 CLEARFIELD ppd. 3 – 16
02/14 MO VALLEY 45 – 35 4 – 16
02/15 HARMONY
02/18 CLEARFIELD

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