AML Boys’ Playoffs Get Underway Tonight (Thursday)

jarrett-esposito-brockway
ST. MARYS, Pa. (D9Sports) – Elk County Catholic starts its quest for a third straight AML boys’ basketball title at 7 p.m. Thursday when it hosts Brockway in the AML semifinals.

(Photo: Jarrett Esposito is the leading scorer for Brockway this season. The Rovers take on Elk County Catholic in the AML Semifinals Thursday in St. Marys)

The other semifinal features Kane traveling to Ridgway also at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The championship game is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Marys High School.

(S2) BROCKWAY at (N1) ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC, 7 P.M.

The Crusaders (22-0) and Rovers (14-8) met Dec. 23 in St. Marys with ECC taking a 61-40 win thanks to 17 points from Nate DaCanal, 13 from Ryan Newton and 12 from Gabe Kraus. Jarret Esposito had 16 in the loss for the Rovers.

DaCanal (15.3 ppg), Kraus (14.7 ppg) and Newton (11.0 ppg) lead the scoring for ECC, while Esposito (10.2 ppg) and Carter Adams (10.0 ppg) pace Brockway.

The Crusaders completed back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons for the first time in school history with a win at Bradford Monday. The defending District 9 Class 1A champions are the top seed and prohibitive favorites in the upcoming District 9 1A playoffs.

Brockway struggled down the stretch losing three of four to close out the regular season. That stretch dropped the Rovers to the sixth seed in the District 9 Class 2A playoffs.

(N2) Kane at (S1) RIDGWAY, 7 P.M.

Kane and Ridgway met two weeks ago in Ridgway in a game that got testy with three technical fouls being called on the Wolves in the third quarter helping the Elkers blow open the game on their way to a 59-36 win.

It’s been a mixed bag season for the Wolves (16-6), who won the District 9 Class 2A title last year and are the top seed in the 3A tournament this year.

While the wins have obviously outnumbered the losses, the losses have been blowouts against the better teams in District 9. The defeats to Coudersport, Elk County Catholic (twice), Brookville, Ridgway and Johnsonburg have come by an average of 22 points per loss.

Ridgway (18-3 heading into a scheduled game with Smethport Wednesday) has been its usually efficient self on the defensive end ranking second in District 9 in scoring defense giving up 36.8 ppg. The Elkers average (51.5 ppg) but that number has gone down since losing Johnny Mitchell, who quit around Christmas. Without Mitchell, who was averaging 8.5 ppg, Ridgway scores 48.4 ppg including 45.9 ppg in its last 10 games going into Wednesday.

Justin Kasmierski leads the Elkers in scoring at 13.1 ppg, Andy Breier adds 10.6 ppg and Neil MacDonald 10.0 ppg.

Andrew Bucheit, last year’s All American Awards & Engraving D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year, paces Kane with 18.5 ppg. But Bucheit has been silent in five of the six losses averaging 8.8 ppg in the defeats to ECC, Brookville, Ridgway and Johnsonburg after scoring 26 in the loss to Coudersport.

Freshman Chad Greville adds 11 ppg with Davis Gardner averaging 9.7 ppg.


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