The Golden Eagles broke from a 19-19 tie for a 53-33 win.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
SHARPSVILLE -- For the first quarter of Tuesday's Mercer County Athletic Conference inter-league battle between Kennedy Catholic and Sharpsville, it was anybody's game.
Then, with the game tied at 19, Kennedy Catholic ran off nine unanswered points to finish the first half.
The Golden Eagles also posted a 10-3 edge in the third period as they flew away to a 53-33 victory over the Blue Devils.
"They are really an improved ball club," Kennedy Catholic (18-5) coach Tim Loomis said. "They and Mercer have really improved and I thought they played us tough tonight."
Sharpsville (9-8) coach Rob Spon was impressed with his upperclassmen.
"Those kids [the seniors] came out and played real hard tonight against a quality team," Spon said. "We worked so hard on the offensive end and we had some good looks, but we just couldn't convert and that hurt us.
"That has been a problem for us all season."
Defenses play well
Both coaches were happy with their team's defensive play.
"Defensively, I thought we did a pretty good job for the most part," Loomis said. "I felt that was the biggest difference in the game."
Spon's plan to defend the Golden Eagles was simple: Stop Kennedy's big man, Ramone Truxan.
"I watched [Truxan] and seldom does he pass the ball out so when he gets it in there, collapse on him and we frustrated him," Spon said.
Truxan had 21 rebounds in the teams' last meeting.
"I vowed that would never happen again," Spon said. "Tonight, we held him to five points and five boards.
"We didn't win, but I thought we gave a much better account of ourselves than we did the last time," Spon said.
Loomis and Spon felt the game was a good tune-up for the playoffs.
"We have to approach every game as a playoff game," Loomis said.
Adam Dye scored 10 points to lead the Blue Devils.
Craig Wellman scored 17 and David Jackson added 13 for Kennedy.
"Playing Kennedy as tough as we did tonight is a turnaround for our program," Spon said. "When you can hang with one of the best teams in the state, kids start believing in themselves."