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Dragons, Kurtz advance to PIAA Tournament

February 24, 2008

TYRONE — When the District 6 Class AA playoff pairings came out, few people gave Central much of a chance to advance past the first round, let alone make it to the PIAA playoffs.

But that’s exactly where the Dragons are headed.

Eleventh-seeded Central advanced to states with a 43-35 win over Penns Valley Saturday in the consolation game at Tyrone Area Middle School.

Trailing most of the second half, Chris Kurtz gave the Dragons the lead for good with a pull-up jumpshot and ensuing foul shot with 1:42 to go.

Including Jon Ewart’s 4-for-4 effort, Central went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line over the final 36 seconds to seal the win.

“Not many people saw us getting to where we’re at now,” Kurtz said. “Making the state playoffs is a great way to end my senior season.”

Central plays the winner of Trinity/Delone Catholic, the District 3 championship game, on Saturday. Trinity and Delone were scheduled to play Friday, but the game was pushed back to Monday due to snow.

Against Penns Valley, sophomore center Shane Cafferty led Central with 11 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Lucas Runk turned in a big effort off the bench with 10 points.

“Lucas has played really well for us down the stretch,” Central coach Bill Forshey said. “He’s extremely athletic and really gets after it.”

Central charged out of the gate, putting the Rams in an early 7-0 hole. Derek Forshey started the game with a layup and 3-pointer before Cafferty scored on the fast break 2:25 into the game.

The Dragons once again took a seven-point lead when Jace Keller knocked down a 3-pointer at the 4:32 mark of the second quarter, but then the Central offense went into a long drought.

Penns Valley scored the final eight points of the half to take a 20-19 lead to the break.

Central finally scored again three minutes into the second half when Runk followed up a pair of free throws with a fast-break bucket to give Central a short-lived 23-22 lead.

The Dragons managed only two more the points the rest of the quarter and went to the fourth down, 28-25. Central had more turnovers than points in the third quarter.

“We started well but then started committing a lot of turnovers. I don’t know if we lost focus or what,” Bill Forshey said. “It was really uncharacteristic of how we’ve played in the playoffs.”

With the horrible third quarter behind them, the Dragons took much better care of the ball in the fourth and caught Penns Valley on back-to-back buckets by Kurtz and Runk. After Kurtz scored on a driving layup, Runk hit an inside shot off a pass from Drew Ebersole with 2:45 to play.

“They forced us into a couple of ill-timed turnovers,” Penns Valley coach Terrence Glunt said. “We got a case of the happy feet when we could have had a couple layups. But give Central credit. They really attacked us in the fourth quarter.”

CENTRAL (43): Kurtz 2 1-1 5, Ewart 0 4-4 4, Forshey 2 3-4 8, Cafferty 5 1-2 11, Keller 1 0-0 3, Runk 3 4-4 10, Ebersole 1 0-0 2, Saylor 0 0-0 0, Hamilton 0 0-0 0. Totals — 14 13-15 43.

PENNS VALLEY (35): Lee 0 0-2 0, Montminy 4 4-4 13, Brown 2 4-4 8, Wingard 0 0-1 0, DeLoof 5 4-7 14, Weaver 0 0-0 0, Zerby 0 0-0 0. Totals — 11 12-16 35.


Central 14 5 6 18 — 43

Penns Valley 8 12 8 7 — 35

3-point goals: Central 2 (Forshey, Keller); Penns Valley 1 (Montminy).

Records: Central (12-16); Penns Valley (14-13).

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