Thriller in Patton Hall: Golden Tide Outlast Owls, 59-50

CURWENSVILLE — For the fans, parents, and staff that stuck around for the night cap of a Curwensville double-header inside Patton Hall, it couldn’t have been a more perfect storm.  The Golden Tide and the visiting Harmony Owls already played a classic game on January 10 that went to overtime, with the Owls eventually gaining the five-point victory.  Fans and coaches were expecting the same in the second meeting.

They got exactly that, and more.  For 32 minutes, neither team had a true advantage, with the gap being no more than four points between the two teams for 96 percent of the time.  But, Curwensville dug deep, made big plays when it mattered, and pulled away late for a thrilling 59-50 triumph.

“I thought both teams had key moments where, either way, if someone got a good shot or good possession, they could extend the lead,” said Tide head coach Matt Wassil after emerging from the locker room.  “Each time, the defense on the other team stepped up and made a play, and it stayed right in that area.”

Wassil could not be more accurate, as after Curwensville opened the scoring with a pair of free throws, Harmony answered right back.  After one quarter, the two were still knotted up at 17 points a piece.

Both teams echoed the first eight minutes with a similar run through the second, as neither team established dominance.  At halftime, Harmony did hold a slim 31-29 advantage, but it was Curwensville getting the possession following the break.

Wassil said one of the biggest reasons the two squads were so evenly matched for a majority of the game was the defensive side of the ball, focusing on how well each team attacked the boards following missed shots.

“I thought that Harmony did an exceptional job competing with us on the boards for three quarters.  Guys like Avery (Francisco) and Christian (Bakaysa) stepping it up in the fourth quarter pushed us over the edge”, he said.  “We told them in the huddle (after the third quarter), it was going to be the defensive end that won it, and we needed to rebound the ball.  When they shot and missed, we needed those rebounds.

“Those guys stepped up and did that.”

Harmony crashed the boards hard in the second half thanks to Jayden Westover, who finished the night with a team high 13 rebounds in a double-double effort as he chipped in 11 points.  Teammate Adam McGarvey had five of his six rebounds in the second half to go with his 12 points.

Westover and McGarvey, however, both were behind Daniel Rorabaugh in scoring, as he finished with a team-high 19 points.

After three quarters, it still was close, with Curwensville holding a slight two-point advantage, and each team was looking for that boost to push them ahead  The Tide widened the gap to four points after a pair of free throws from Bakaysa, but it wasn’t long until the Owls marched back with a pair of back-to-back baskets to tie it up once again.  However, the 6:08 mark in the final quarter in Wassil’s eyes was the play of the night that pushed Curwensville into the lead for good.

“It was when we got the ball inside to Christian, who is normally a big scorer for us inside, and he made a beautiful decision to throw the ball out to Ty Terry for a left-wing jumper in the fourth quarter,” Wassil said.

That shot put Curwensville ahead, 49-46.  A mere 32 seconds later, Terry was on the opposite wing and took a pass from Dakota Bloom with an open look.  That shot went in, and at that point, it was the biggest lead by either team of the night.

Terry would finish the night hitting six shots from deep range, finishing with 21 points.  Bakaysa had his own phenomenal night, finishing with a double-double with a game-high 28 points, plus 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks.  Francisco finished with a team-high 14 points along with two blocks and two steals.

The Owls tried to pull closer late in the game, but their final basket came with 1:44 left in the game.  At that point the gap was 56-50, but Terry then drained three of his four three throws in the last 1:03 to lock up the game.

Both games between the Owls and the Tide this year had almost mirror images, with neither team dominating from the opening tip to the final buzzer.  Wassil felt his team played their best game all season, but he was also quick to say that both games between the two schools were possibly some of the best he’s seen all season.

“What’s amazing about it is that if you go back to the first meeting, it’s more like eight quarters (that the teams played close).  We played them one-point apart, then tied for three quarters up there, and we went into overtime,”  he said.  “I don’t know what it is about our two styles, but they just come together for good games.”

Wassil also was pointing out that the crowd played a factor in how both teams played, and ultimately gave them a boost when it mattered.

“It helped us that it was a Friday night, and that the varsity girls game was before us, so it brought in more people.  I think we did get an adrenaline push from our crowd, which is great to see,” he said.  “I’ve got to be honest, I know we’ve struggled with our record at times, but our crowd support from our parents and the community, even for away games, has been tremendous.  I couldn’t be prouder.”

Curwensville (5-16) has one last game to finish out the 2018-2019 campaign.  The season finishes the same way it began, as on Monday they will take on their rivals from just up the road, the Clearfield Bison.  Back on December 7, inside the Bison Gym, Nate Glunt’s team handed the Tide a 77-32 loss.

In Wassil’s eyes, that game over two months ago and the season finale will feel much different as his team enters the game having won three of their last four games.

“The one thing we have coming into Monday’s game that we didn’t have in that first game of the season is confidence.  We have now played well enough over the last month of the season to have some confidence in the way we play,” Wassil said.  “I’m hoping that will change the outcome of the game.  Whether we win or lose, I feel we will be more competitive than the first time.”

Junior varsity will tip off at 6 p.m. with the varsity to follow at approximately 7:30 p.m.

SCORE BY QUARTER

Harmony   17   14   11   8  –  50
Curwensville   17   12   15   15  –  59

Harmony – 50

Daniel Rorabaugh 4 10-10 19, Dubyak 1 0-0 2, Westover 5 1-5 11, McGarvey 5 2-2 12, Rowles 1 0-0 2, Schneider 1 0-0 2, David Rorabaugh 0 0-0 0, Elias 1 0-0 2, Bailey 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS 18 14-17 50.

Curwensville – 59

Francisco 2 0-0 4, Bakaysa 9 10-13 28, Irwin 0 0-0 0, Guiffre 0 0-0 0, Bloom 1 0-0 2, Terry 6 3-4 21, Lansberry 2 0-0 4, Miller 0 0-0 0.  TOTALS 20 13-17 59.

GAME STATISTICS
Harmony/Curwensville

Shooting:  18-65/20-59

Rebounds:  26/33

Fouls:  16/15

Turnovers:  16/18

Three-Point Shots:  Daniel Rorabaugh/Terry (6)

Foul Outs:  Rowles

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 59 – 50 5 – 16
02/18 CLEARFIELD

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