DIVISION III SEMIFINALS
Next: Girard vs. LaBrae at Howland, Thursday, 6:15 p.m.
PY VALLEY 44
Next: Lakeview vs. Grand Valley at Howland, Thursday, 7:45 p.m.
By Doug Chapin
The Girard and Lakeview high boys basketball teams posted victories Monday on the opening night of the Division III sectional-district tournament at Howland High.
The Indians (7-14) rallied from a 51-38 deficit after three quarters and defeated Champion, 70-68 in overtime.
Gguards Mat Pagano, a senior, and Evan Standohar, a freshman, scored 26 and 22 points, respectively. Senior Ross Farmer tallied 30 points in a losing effort for the Golden Flashes (2-19).
Lakeview (10-11) scored the first seven points of the game and stayed in command throughout in a 58-44 triumph over Pymatuning Valley (16-5).
Both winners return to play on Thursday, Girard against top-seeded LaBrae and Lakeview against fourth-seeded Grand Valley.
Pagano had just five points at halftime for Girard, which split two regular-season games with Champion.
“I think in the second half Mat picked up the tempo a little bit more,” Girard coach Nolan Cubellis said.
“As he goes our team goes. I don’t think there’s a secret anymore if you watch our team.
“The first half he seemed to feel things out a little bit and I think in the second half he figured things out and knew where the openings were, where to attack,” Cubellis said.
“He’s our team leader for a reason.”
Pagano, who also had five assists and six steals, scored 15 points in the fourth quarter as the Indians rallied to tie the game at 62-62 at the end of regulation.
Farmer shot 13-for-21 from the floor for Champion and also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out five assists.
Ryan Miller scored 12 points and Wes Weber 11 in support.
“Obviously we haven’t had a lot of experience defending a lead,” Champion coach Dan Bubon said. “It’s one thing to practice it, but in a tournament atmosphere with a good crowd.
“It was tough. A break here, a break there, it’s our game. It was just being tentative with the lead, and Girard made some shots.”
Lakeview was led by Zach McDivitt with 16 points and Elliot Metheny with 11.
The Bulldogs grabbed 15 offensive rebounds in what was a physical game, and also shot an amazing 20-for-21 (95 percent) from the foul line.
Lakeview lost its last four games of the regular season and their was concern in the Bulldogs’ camp.
“We were really concerned, we thought maybe we had lost our confidence,” Lakeview coach George Lanterman said. “We told them before the game that they all played last year, all of them were in this tournament last year.
“We had no seniors, so we’ve been here. We said go out and play like you’ve been here. I was really happy for our seniors, they showed good leadership.”
After jumping to the aforementioned 7-0 lead, Lakeview settled for a 13-9 advantage after one quarter.
The Bulldogs led 27-20 at halftime and opened the advantage to 39-25 after three quarters.
The lead reached 18 before PV whittled it to 45-38 midway through the final quarter but that was as close as the Lakers would come.
Pymatuning Valley was led in scoring by Tim Cross with 14 points and Brandon Easton and Lucas Riley with 11 each.