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LaBrae has off night, but beats JFK, 44-31



Published: Sat, February 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Vikings overcame a poor shooting night to advance to district play.

HUBBARD -- Top-seeded LaBrae High overcame some horrendous shooting and survived to get past Warren JFK Friday night in the Division III sectional final at Hubbard High School.

The Vikings shot just 24.5 percent from the field and an even worse 11.7 percent in the first and third quarters combined, but still got past the Eagles 44-31 to advance to district play.

LaBrae (17-4) will meet Badger, a 57-56 overtime winner over Grand Valley in Friday's second contest, on Tuesday at 7:45 p.m.

"It certainly wasn't pretty," said LaBrae coach Gregg Isler. "But at this point of the season pretty doesn't count, just winning does.

"The ball just wouldn't go in the hole tonight and we had a lot of good shots and good looks that just didn't fall, but the bottom line is that we found a way to win," Isler added.

Eagles almost as bad

One of those reasons was the fact that Warren JFK (13-9) shot almost as poorly as the Vikings. The Eagles made just 28.3 percent on the night.

"It was a lot of poor shooting by both teams tonight," said JFK coach Shawn Pompelia. "We had our opportunities, we just couldn't convert them.

"LaBrae's a very good basketball team and when they come out shooting like they did we needed to take advantage and we just never did," he added.

LaBrae scored the first points of the game on Jason Frederick's 3-point goal with just under seven minutes remaining. The Vikings wouldn't score again until Eric Hart scored with 56 seconds remaining in the period and the Vikings trailing 13-5.

In between those baskets the Vikings were 1-of-18 from the field and still only trailed 13-9 at the end of the period.

With two baskets from Todd Rowan and another 3-pointer from Frederick the Vikings took a 25-19 halftime lead.

Almost blanked in third

The third quarter was a terrible shooting exhibition by both teams, and as a result just 10 points were scored, three by the Vikings, which came on a Frederick 3-pointer with 48 seconds to go.

The Eagles, who were 3-of-10 in the quarter, still managed to cut into the lead, 28-26.

But the Vikings scored the first seven points of the final quarter, built a 35-26 lead and never let the Eagles back in the game.

Frederick led the way with 11 points, while Mike Ryan added 10. Kyle Rowan pulled down 12 rebounds and Todd Rowan added 10 more.

Joe Chicchillo and Marc Rossi each had 10 points for the Eagles.

Badger 57, Grand Valley 56 (OT)

Norm Yannucci hit a 3-point goal with 48 seconds remaining in overtime to give Badger the lead, 55-53, then Ryan Myers made two clutch free throws with 25.4 seconds to go, sealing the victory.

Myers and Anthony Marcini each had 13 points to lead the Braves (16-5), while Joe Meloni tacked on 12 points.

The game was close the entire way and was deadlocked four times in the final period.

Badger had an opportunity to win the game in regulation as they had the ball with 1:15 remaining and the score tied at 49.

The Braves worked the clock to 18 seconds before calling a time out, but when play resumed Yannucci was called for an offensive foul with 1.7 seconds remaining as the Braves never got off a shot.

Overtime lead

In the overtime, Grand Valley, behind 6-foot-7 senior Jon Lawrence, jumped out to a 53-49 lead, but the Braves added a bucket by Ty Brothers and then Marcini hit one of two free throws to pull within a point 53-52.

Yannucci then made his 3-pointer to give Badger the lead and after Lawrence made one free throw, Myers hit twice from the line to put the Braves up by three, 57-54.

David Cedar missed a 3-point attempt for Grand Valley, but Steve Waldo got the rebound and scored to close the gap to one 57-56.

Brothers was fouled with 8.7 seconds remaining and missed both free throws, but Jim Kittle's shot at the buzzer missed.




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