EBENSBURG - Neither Tyrone or Westmont Hilltop looked too happy to be playing in Friday's District 6 Class AA high school boys basketball consolation game at Central Cambria High School.
Both teams lost close games just two days ago in the semifinals, and the frustrations from that game and a couple of calls in Friday's game left Tyrone boiling - and out of the playoffs. The loss marked Tyrone's first two-game losing streak this season. The Golden Eagles finished 22-4.
"Obviously this is a rough way to end things," Tyrone's Richard Crabtree said. "It sucks that it has to end right now. I couldn't ask for a better group to play with, but everything happens for a reason."
The No. 1 seeded Golden Eagles committed just five fouls in the first half and carried a four-point lead into the locker room, but Tyrone was tagged for 20 fouls in the second half of a 66-51 loss to second-seeded Westmont Hilltop.
"Tyrone played the same defense, but we took 11 3-pointers in the first half and just nine 2-pointers," Westmont Hilltop coach David Roman Jr. said. "We weren't going to the rim, so why would they foul us? We told the kids to go to the rim, and they fouled us."
Tyrone coach George Gripp had a different opinion.
"Everybody knows; it was kind of obvious," said Gripp, regarding whether Roman's pleas to the officials to call fouls impacted the game.
Gripp's son, Brandon, fouled out of the game with 15.1 seconds to play in the third quarter, and fellow starter Charles Wilson-Adams followed soon after, fouling out with 7:14 to play in the game.
The Hilltoppers took a 15-point lead when Wilson-Adams fouled out before the Golden Eagles trimmed it to eight when Crabtree connected on a 3-pointer with 2:46 to play.
Unlike the semifinals, when Westmont lost a late lead due to missed free throws, the Hilltoppers (20-5) made their foul shots down the stretch, going 11-for-14 in the final 2 minutes to lock up the victory. For the game, Westmont shot 28-of-37 from the line, while Tyrone was 9-for-17.
"I said today was a character-revealing day," Roman said. "Neither of us wanted to be here tonight. We wanted to be playing in the finals, but we put a challenge out to our kids, and they responded."
Crabtree, Tyrone's leading scorer this season, did his best to keep the Golden Eagles alive. The senior scored a game-high 25 points in his final high school game.
"Richard and our other seniors have been great to work with," Coach Gripp said. "This was, if not the best team I've coached, one of them. Richard is a special talent to coach, and when he was on the floor, you never felt like you were out of it."
Crabtree has yet to pick a college but said he plans on playing basketball at the collegiate level.
WESTMONT HILLTOP (66): J. Glennon 3 4-7 11, Flick 2 4-4 8, Hamer 3 9-11 16, Brandon 5 3-3 15, Vliet 3 8-10 14, Carney 0 0-0 0, Kleinmyer 1 0-0 2, Campagna 0 0-2 0, Dragovich 0 0-0 0, D. Glennon 0 0-0 0, Mendelson 0 0-0 0. Totals - 17 28-37 66.
TYRONE (51): Gripp 2 1-2 5, Franco 3 2-3 8, Crabtree 9 3-6 25, Wilson-Adams 2 0-2 4, Dickson 1 1-2 3, Wagner 2 2-2 6, Fowler 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0, Ingle 0 0-0 0, Belinda 0 0-0 0. Totals - 19 9-17 51.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Westmont Hilltop15 5 26 21 - 66
Tyrone14 9 10 18 - 51
3-point goals: Westmont Hilltop 4 (Brandon 2, J. Glennon, Hamer); Tyrone 4 (Crabtree 4).
Records: Westmont Hilltop (20-5); Tyrone (22-4).
Officials: Frank Garritano, Jim Harnish, Chris Garritano.