WEST LAWN- Daniel Boone was able to do a decent job of controlling the inside game of Berks Catholic in Monday night's Berks County boys basketball quarterfinal contest. But that came with its downside as the Saints — notably former Blazer Pop Lacey — were able to peck away from outside and Boone got into early and constant foul trouble.
That was too much to overcome against the two-time defending champions and Daniel Boone's season came to an end with a 56-40 loss at Wilson High School. Steve Sievers led the seventh-seeded Blazers (3-8, 11-12) with 13 points. Bucknell-bound 6-foot-8 center Nana Foulland amassed 18 points, 16 rebounds, and seven blocked shots for the second-seeded Saints (11-0, 20-3) — who are now 44-0 in Berks games in their three years of existence — and Lacey and Isaac Lutz each scored 12.
Boone trailed by just a 7-5 score when Sievers knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the circle with 5:20 left in the opening quarter. But the Blazers then went more than 10 minutes without a point while the Saints ripped off 17 in a row.
Lacey was the main man during that streak as he scored 11 of those points. He hit a 3-pointer from the left corner and scored on a drive to make it 12-5. Then he sank two more shots from beyond the 3-point arc in the second quarter as the Saints built a 24-5 advantage. Michael Dabney finally broke the scoring drought for the Blazers when he connected on his first of two 3-point baskets.
"We kept leaving Pop open, which is not what we're supposed to do,' said Boone coach Ian Gendreau.
Meanwhile, the Blazers shot just 4-for-20 from the floor in the first half that ended with a score of 30-11.
Foulland scored only four points before the break, but was also called for just one foul.
"We wanted to get Nana out of the game as soon as possible,' said Sievers. "That didn't exactly work out as planned. The plan was to drive and get into the body and get the 3-point game going again. Three-point land was a big deal.'
The Blazers did start to hit some outside shots in the second half, including four straight by Sievers. They got to within 34-21 when Kenny Worthington drove for a 3-point play late in the third quarter. Boone wound up with a 12-9 advantage in that period and held the Saints without a field goal until Foulland banked in a shot with six seconds left.
But they still trailed by 16 at that point and had to foul to try to get back into the game.
"You have really no choice than fouling them,' said Gendreau. "We knew if we got into a foul situation we might be able to trade three points for two or two for one.'
But the large early deficit was just too much for Boone.
"We didn't have our offense together in the first eight minutes even the first half,' Gendreau added. "We needed to shoot really well. We needed to put more pressure on them. We did a great job in the second half, but not at all in the first half.'
Sievers finished at 5-for-8 from the floor.
"I felt good tonight,' said the senior guard. "You know the nights that you feel good. Big games, you have to come out big.'
The Blazers battled injuries throughout the season, but were able to capture a wild card playoff spot despite finishing tied for fourth in Division I.
"We definitely persevered,' said Sievers.
But they finished 22nd in the final District 3-AAAA Power Rankings, missing a playoff berth by two spots.
"They played a really hard schedule,' Gendreau said concerning his players. "If we had gotten a couple of the early ones in December, we'd still be playing.'
Boone was called for 33 fouls to the Saints' nine and five Blazers fouled out. ... Berks Catholic shot 25-for-48 from the line compared to 4-for-9 for Boone. ... Connor Jack added six points and eight rebounds for the winners, who had a 41-27 advantage on the boards. ... The Blazers turned the ball over just three times in the second half and 11 times on the night while the Saints lost the ball 12 times.