CLARION - Some how, some way, the Bishop Carroll Huskies found themselves down by four points after three quarters in their PIAA Class A state playoff opener against District 9 runner-up Johnsonburg Friday night.
The Rams were shooting a blistering 78 percent (18-of-23) from the floor, yet the Huskies were hanging around until Johnsonburg pulled away for a 57-47 win at Clarion University's Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium.
Bishop Carroll (14-13) had its playoff run ended due in large part to turnover problems and foul trouble that eventually led to four of coach Cosie Aliquo's starters foul out.
"Our effort always keeps us in the game," Aliquo said. "It just came down to every time we had a chance, we turned it over. I think there were three or four times we had a chance to cut it from six to four and four to two and we didn't get a shot. Sooner or later against a good team, it's going to come back and get you and it did."
The Huskies were shooting it well too, over 50 percent, entering the fourth quarter, but missed all 12 of their shots from the floor in the final frame as Johnsonburg won its first state playoff game since 2004.
In a game where the teams combined for 48 turnovers - Johnsonburg 25 to Bishop Carroll's 23 - even the winning coach was left shaking his head.
"I don't know if we controlled it," Rams coach Bill Shuey said of the Rams' 13-7 fourth-quarter advantage. "Our defense came alive in the fourth quarter. We caused some turnovers and they didn't hit their shots. We continued to turn the ball over and gave them opportunities. We were lucky to have 25 turnovers and win the game."
Johnsonburg, which finished 75 percent (21-of-28) from the floor, advances to Tuesday's second round against North Catholic or West Middlesex.
Ryan Lauer was the only scorer in double figures for the Huskies with 12 points. He nailed two 3-pointers in the first quarter, including a 25-foot bomb with four seconds remaining.
But Lauer was one of the four Huskies to foul out along with sophomore center Marcus Lee, who missed much of the game with foul trouble.
Lee scored nine points and Scott Ranck fouled out after scoring eight points and pulling down a team-high six rebounds. Brandon Martinazzi came off the bench to score nine points.
Bishop Carroll's biggest lead came early on as it jumped out to a 10-4 lead and went up 17-12 following Lauer's long three at the end of the first quarter. The Huskies made 7-of-10 shots from the floor in the first quarter.
Johnsonburg then got hot, starting a hot shooting stretch that saw it make a whopping 13-of-14 shots from the floor in the second and third quarters.
The Rams, feeding mostly off Bishop Carroll turnovers and turning them into layups, took their first lead since the first two baskets of the game on Cole Peterson's basket layup to make it 22-21 with 3:25 left in the first half.
The Rams led 29-27 after Martinazzi's steal and layup beat the halftime horn with one second on the clock.
Aliquo knew his team had some chances it didn't convert in the first half.
"Even in the first half when we were up four and had a chance to take it up to six, we turned it over and they're right back in the game," Aliquo said. "From there on, it was a battle. If we didn't foul, we turned it over."
Peterson led Johnsonburg with 19 points while Cameron Grumley finished with 15.
BISHOP CARROLL (47): Lauer 2 6-6 12, Maruca 0 0-0 0, Lee 3 3-3 9, Ranck 4 0-2 8, Madonna 1 3-4 5, Martinazzi 4 0-2 9, Suckinos 2 0-0 4, Lucas 0 0-0 0, Corcoran 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 12-17 47.
JOHNSONBURG (57): Grumley 6 3-5 15, Luhr 2 0-0 4, Peterson 6 6-8 19, Holmberg 1 1-2 4, Shuey 4 1-4 9, Kocjancic 0 0-0 0, Sheldon 1 1-2 4, Bliss 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 12-22 57.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Carroll17 10 13 7 - 47
Johnsonburg12 17 15 13 - 57
3-point goals: Bishop Carroll 3 (Lauer 2, Martinazzi), Johnsonburg 3 (Peterson, Holmberg, Sheldon).
Team records Bishop Carroll (14-14), Johnsonburg (24-5)
Officials: Scott Sullivan, Dave Blair, Chuck Pasternak