KNOX — With perhaps last year’s buzzer-beating loss to Karns City in the District 9 Class AAA finals ringing in its ears, the Brookville Raiders basketball team was back at it again Thursday night playing Moniteau for another title.
And this time around, the Raiders weren’t about to let a buzzer-beating chance come up again as they pulled away from the Warriors for a 54-35 win at Keystone High School.
After losing to Karns City in two straight finals, the 15-8 Raiders captured their first title since the Class AA crown in 2014. Next up is a District 5-9 Sub-Regional final matchup with Chestnut Ridge next Thursday at the University of Pitt-Johnstown at a time to be announced.
Everett beat Chestnut Ridge, 50-43, Thursday night as well. Next week’s winner earns a PIAA state playoff berth.
Against Moniteau, the Raiders led from start to finish as they limited the Warriors to 2-of-18 shooting at the start. They went up 24-13 by halftime and kept their lead in double figures the rest of the game, leading by as many as 22 points and 49-27 late in the fourth quarter.
“Maybe we felt that last year was going to be easier and it took the whole game to get back and then we lost on the shot at the end,” Raiders head coach Dalton Park said. “This year, they didn’t want to leave it to chance and started out quick. We had a dead spot there in the second quarter, but we got past that and the energy started to flow from there.”
The Raiders actually got more points out of their bench as sophomores Jace Miner and Robert Keth led the way. Miner made 7 of 10 shots from the floor and scored a game-high 15 points. Keth finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Both played a key role defensively as the Raiders bothered the Warriors all night.
“We had a game plan of Jace and Robert coming off the bench and us going into the press and that kind of worked out,” Park said. “Jace was fresh and was able to jump to the ball and do some things for us that way. What I really liked was that he attacked and wasn’t afraid to drive to the basket.
“Those two coming off the bench has been awesome for us. I can’t say enough about that.”
Raiders Aaron Park and Jack Krug scored nine points. Park just missed a double double with 11 rebounds.
Ethan McDeavitt led Moniteau with 13 points. The Warriors were a dismal 3-for-15 from the foul line, which didn’t help any comeback efforts. They missed 12 of their first 13 going into the fourth quarter.
The Raiders led 10-3 after the first quarter. Miner’s buzzer-beating runner before halftime actually gave the Raiders a double-figure lead for good going into the locker room at 24-13.
The defense continued to feed into the Raiders’ offense, which managed a 50-percent night from the field (22-for-44).
“Our defense leads into our offense,” Park said. “The two dead spots we had we weren’t playing good defense and it led to no offense. But overall, I have three lockdown defenders and the big guys are in there pounding and playing hard. It’s a pretty tough to get points on that.
“There were times we didn’t get a hand up, but we were on the shooter with some presence. When we pressed, that was the game-breaker and it turned things around and solidified things.”
And led to a Raiders title.
“It feels good,” Park said. “All that effort, we have something to show for it. Not that last year we didn’t have anything to show for it, but it kind of puts a stamp on this year. This is what you get when you work hard. Maybe we’ll get some guys looking at it and working hard in the summer.
“The kids said they had fun tonight, so hopefully we can extend that and have some more fun.”