Although the McConnellsburg boys basketball team had never appeared in an Inter-County Conference championship game before, the Spartans hung with Moshannon Valley in the ICC title game Saturday, overcoming a nine-point deficit in the third quarter, but ultimately fell to the Black Knights 37-35.
"We battled all night and we showed a lot of heart," McConnellsburg coach Drew Washabaugh said. "But we didn't shoot well tonight, and they really sit in the zone and make you shoot. We could have folded when we were down but we kept digging."
McConnellsburg outscored Moshannon Valley by five in the fourth quarter, but a handful of missed buckets in the final minute nailed it for the Spartans (19-4), breaking a 16-game winning streak.
The Spartans were led by Chance Hawbaker, who put up 10 points. Hawbaker was also tasked with guarding 6-foot-7 center Connor Holobinko, who contributed just 11 points for the Black Knights.
"I just think (this game) shows the growth we've had this season," Washabaugh said. "We know toward the end there is a push and we are going to see some games that could go the other way. We've grown as a team thanks to the Southern Fulton games, the Fannett-Metal games, and we've been able to build off them. Now we need to build off this one even though it's a loss."
Hawbaker also had eight rebounds and two steals. Ethan Barclay contributed eight points and six rebounds.
McConnellsburg will have a bye for the first round of the District 3 Class 2A tournament, and will not return to the court until Tuesday, Feb. 28.
District 3 2A Section III
- James Buchanan's Derek Pine placed third at 113 pounds, which qualified him for next week's District 3 Championships. Pine lost in the quarterfinals 12-10 in sudden victory to Colton Forrer of Susquenita, won a consolation bout by pin in 0:47, then faced Forrer again for third place. This time, he won a wild 16-12 decision.
District 5 Class 2A
Everett’s Liam Flaherty won the District 5 Class 2A 132-pound championship on Saturday with a 12-3 major decision over Scott Miller of Chestnut Ridge. Flaherty, a Southern Fulton student, had pins in 0:11 and 0:35 to reach the final.
Gavin Wills, another SF student wrestling in a co-op with Everett, was the runner-up at 170 pounds. He was pinned in 3:47 by Chestnut Ridge’s Jared McGill. Wills had pins in 0:15 and 1:44 prior to the final.
Pa. Prep states
- Mercersburg Academy's Aurelius Dunbar, a freshman from Greencastle, placed second at 145 pounds in the PAISAA State Tournament. Dunbar and teammate Rafael Gotera (6th at 106 pounds) have qualified for next weekend's National Prep Tournament at Lehigh University.