CLAYSBURG - When Northern Bedford's Kyler Diehl converted 1-of-2 free throws with more than 3 minutes left to play against Claysburg-Kimmel, neither team had any idea that would be the decisive point in the game.
Leading by 13 points early in the fourth quarter, Northern Bedford held off a late Claysburg rally and escaped with a 52-51 Wednesday at the Claysburg-Kimmel High School gym.
Diehl and fellow 6-foot-5 forward Blake Over led the Black Panthers with 18 and 15 points respectively. It was Zane Snyder, however, who preserved the win with a rebound of Claysburg's last shot in the closing seconds.
Claysburg's Austin Lamont drove to the basket but put up an awkward shot. Snyder grabbed the rebound and was able to pass the ball up the court until less than 1 second remained on the clock.
"Austin's who we wanted to have the ball. We just didn't get a good look," Claysburg coach Josh Klausman said. "They did a good job on the side of floor we wanted to go. It's pretty tough when you get in with those trees. They have a lot of length inside."
Snyder stole the Bulldogs' ensuing inbounds pass to end the game.
"With 3 or 4 minutes left, we got content. Content is something you should never see on a basketball court," Northern coach Jason Free said. "We made a couple bad decisions with the ball. We should have run 20-30 seconds off the clock each possession and got the shot we wanted."
Northern Bedford improved to 9-2. Claysburg fell back to .500 at 5-5.
Diehl's free throw put Northern up 52-45 before Claysburg made a final run at the win. Luke Eberhart led Claysburg's 6-0 spurt with an assist, two blocked shots and and a pair rebounds.
Carter Cerully put in a reverse layup off an assist from Eberhart out of the high post. One of Eberhart's rebounds led to a Cerully layup on the other end to make it a one-possession game.
Lamont trimmed the Northern lead to one point on a steal near midcourt and a layup after with 47 seconds left.
Snyder was called for a travel with 25 seconds left, but then quickly redeemed himself with the rebound and stolen pass that ended the game.
"We knew it would be a tough game," Free said. "They played with a lot of desperation at the end and to their credit, they made a comeback."
Cerully led Claysburg with a game-high 21 points. Lamont added 14 points to go along with seven rebounds and five steals. Eberhart finished with eight points and nine rebounds.
In the first half, Claysburg went on a 9-1 run early in the second quarter for a 22-14 lead.
Northern started the game in a 2-3 zone, but Claysburg went into a slowdown offense to both shorten the game and force Northern out of its zone defense, Klausman said.
"They beat us pretty good with their 2-3 zone earlier," he said. "Once they went to a man, we played better to a point, but made two or three silly mistakes at the end of the first half."
Northern bounced back with a 12-2 spurt of its own to take a 26-24 lead to the half.
Jonathon Petrou drained a pair of jump shots from elbow and Snyder scored two buckets to lead the spurt.
Claysburg forged a 32-30 lead midway through the third on a Lamont layup before Northern reeled off a 17-2 run to close out the third and start the fourth.
Over scored seven points during the run. The senior forward made a steal and slam dunk on the other end, sank a 3-pointer and scored another two points to close out the quarter.
Snyder's short jump shot early in the fourth gave Northern its biggest lead of the game, 47-34.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (52): Ebersole 2 0-0 4, Snyder 4 0-0 8, Diehl 7 4-8 18, Dasher 0 2-2 2, Over 6 1-1 15, Zimmerman 0 0-0 0, Petrou 2 1-2 5, Cherry 0 0-0 0. Totals - 21 8-13 52.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (51): Lamont 5 2-4 14, Gergely 3 1-2 8, Cerully 10 0-0 21, Eberhart 4 0-0 8, Dugan 0 0-0 0, Bogel 0 0-0 0, Polisky 0 0-0 0. Totals - 22 3-6 51.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northern Bedford11 15 18 8 - 52
Claysburg-Kimmel13 11 10 17 - 51
3-point goals: Northern Bedford 2 (Over 2); Claysburg-Kimmel 3 (Lamont 2, Gergely, Cerully).
Records: Northern Bedford (9-2); Claysburg-Kimmel (5-5).
JV: 36-34 OT, Northern Bedford. High scorers-Cherry 14 (NB); Claycomb 14 (CK).