JOHNSTOWN >> After a relatively slow start, McConnellsburg turned up the heat Friday night at the University of Pitt-Johnstown.
Conemaugh Township led by five just a few minutes into Friday night's District 5 Class A boys basketball consolation game, but the Spartans got right back into things, leading 12-11 after the first quarter. McConnellsburg never trailed again and claimed a 49-45 victory to earn third place and ensure a place in the PIAA Tournament.
"We played well in spurts again," Spartan coach Dane Pollock said. "We'd burst out then we seemed to go into a funk for a little bit, so they'd get some baskets. Then we'd push it back out, but they got pretty close in the end. We did just enough to win."
McConnellsburg will face the District 6 runner-up on Friday at a time and place to be determined in the PIAA first round.
Chase Novak was a big factor in the Spartans' success. He finished with a game-high 22 points, including five of the Spartans' nine points in the final quarter. He also dished out five assists.
"Chase made some big shots for us," Pollock said. "We ran two in-bounds plays to him, and we executed them perfectly. Then he made the shots when we needed them, too, because they got it down to three in the fourth quarter."
Although McConnellsburg hasn't been having a best offensive showings lately, Pollock remained confident in his defense. The Spartans held Township's leading scorer, Ben Wilson, to just five points.
"They were a good team, and we did a good job playing defense on them," Pollock said. "We started out in man, and they sliced it up pretty good to take that 11-6 lead early. We went to a zone, and we tried to take the Wilson boy away as much as we could, and I think we did a good job holding him down."
NOTES >> McConnellsburg's Tyrelle White finished with a double-double, scoring 10 points and pulling down 10 rebounds ... Jake Boehme also had a fine game for the Spartans with four points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals ... Township was led by Evan Steeves and Dalton Valentine, who had 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Jake Boehme 1 1-3 4, Ryan Koontz 0 0-0 0, Landon Richards 1 0-0 3, Chase Novak 7 5-6 22, Tyrelle White 3 6-6 12, Shawn Garlock 0 0-0 0, Ian Cheatle 3 0-0 6, Quintin Miller 1 0-0 2
Totals — 16 12-15 49
CONEMAUGH TWP. (45)
Luke Maurer 2 2-2 6, Luke Hostetler 1 0-0 2, Evan Steeves 5 1-2 13, Ben Wilson 2 0-0 5, Dalton Valentine 4 2-2 10, Jason Sotosky 3 1-1 7, Clayton Blough 1 0-0 2.
Totals — 18 6-7 45
3-point goals — CT 3 (Steeves 2, Wilson), McC 5 (Novak 3, Richards, Boehme).