A basket in the game's final seconds helped give the Eagles the victory.
STRUTHERS -- The Youngstown Christian High basketball team won its first tournament game Monday, but it wasn't easy.
The Eagles (11-10) trailed by five points with less than two minutes remaining in their Division IV game against Mathews at Struthers Fieldhouse.
Moments later, Aaron Agresta, a 5-foot-11 junior, received an inbound pass, twisted in front of the basket and made a layup to put the Eagles up, 50-49, with 16 seconds remaining.
"This was our second milestone this season," Youngstown Christian coach Tony Agresta. "This was big for our program.
"We just put that play in this week because Mathews had seen us twice before," he said.
Of the go-ahead play, Aaron Agresta said, "I saw our corner guy was covered, got the ball underneath the basket and laid it up and in.
"This was a total team effort," he said. "Vitullo [Dominic] got us the lead early and when he got into foul trouble, the rest of us stepped it up a notch."
The Eagles held the Mustangs to a basket in the first quarter as they took an 8-2 lead and they were ahead 24-17 at intermission.
Mathews wouldn't go away. The Mustangs kept within two points for most of the third quarter and finally tied it at 36 with 10 seconds to play in the quarter.
Matt Weymer of Mathews (7-14) made that basket to tie, but he missed an opportunity to tie it again with seven seconds leftin the contest when he missed the front end of a one-and-one.
A 3-point basket by Nick Ocheltree gave the Mustangs a 41-38 lead with 5:30 remaining. The Eagles tied it at 42 and again at 44 before Mathews pulled ahead, 49-44.
"Mathews beat us up in the first round here last year," Tony Agresta said. "They beat us by at least 20 points and it might have been 30."
Mathews trailed 44-42 with 2:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. A basket by Chris Holister, who finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, tied the score a 44.
Ocheltree tossed in two free throws and Weymer made a 3-pointer to give the Mustangs a five-point lead.
Colbert connected for a basket as did Jared VanArsdale and the Eagles were within a point.
"We finished second in the Eastern Suburban Conference with a 6-4 record and then getting our first sectional tournament victory that showed us we belonged in the sectional," Agresta said. "A lot of schools didn't think we did.
"I told the kids when we started the season that they were boys and by the middle of the season they turned to men.
"When our kids were down five points, I knew they were going to come back because they had grown up.
"We start five juniors and the first three off the bench are freshmen. It appears we have a bright future ahead."
The Eagles hit on 20-of-56 field goals and they were 6-of-9 from the foul line. VanArsdale, who led the team with 12 rebounds and Steven Setnick each had 10 points.
Mathews had 10 turnovers in the first quarter and managed to get off only six shots and it missed two free throws in falling behind 8-2.
Josh Collier and Ocheltree were the only other players to score for the Mustangs. Both finished with nine points.
The Eagles advance to play Lowellville Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Heritage Christian 56, Leetonia 28
Canton Heritage Christian jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first quarter of its first-round contest against Leetonia and led 24-5 by halftime.
Mike Harris triggered the Heritage (13-7) attack with 11 points. Mark Moore chipped in with nine.
The Bears (2-19) were outscored 32-23 in he second half. Corey Creamer finished with seven points and Todd Kalb had six.
Heritage Christian will go against the top-seeded Sebring Trojans (19-1) Wednesday at 6:30.