DCC Comeback Attempt Falls Short vs. A-C Valley in D9 1A Girls’ Quarterfinals

CLARION, Pa. (D9Sports) – A-C Valley built a 12-point fourth quarter lead then had to hold off Dubois Central Catholic for a 44-36 victory in the District 9 Class 1A Quarterfinals Friday night at Clarion High School.

The fifth-seeded Lady Falcons (14-7) built its largest lead of the game, 40-28, following an Elli Thompson layup and then Thompson hitting 1 of 2 free throws in the opening two minutes of the fourth quarter.

However, A-C Valley turned the ball over six times over the next four minutes without scoring.

That allowed DCC to go on an 8-0 run with field goals from Jordy Frank, Riley Assalone, Libby Maurer and Caitlin Drahushak pulling the Lady Cardinals to within four at 40-36 with 1:58 remaining on Frank’s putback of an Assalone missed field goal.

On the Lady Falcons, next possession Olivia Boocks missed a 1-and-1, but Kylee Eaton was there for the offensive board and putback giving A-C Valley a 42-36 lead with 1:09 left.

Following a defensive rebound by Eaton after Maurer couldn’t finish at the rim, Boocks was fouled in the double bonus with 41 seconds remaining. She came through with two clutch free throws that put A-C Valley up by eight, 44-36.

“I had a good feeling about this,” A-C Valley head coach Dave Sherman, whose team will take on North Clarion in the semifinals, said. “I knew (DCC head coach Mike) Nesbit a bit from when he was a boys coach, and I know he knows the game. I knew his girls were going to play tough defense. We hit a couple of things, but after halftime, after I had a chance to talk to them, we were able to make a couple adjustments. They were switching everything out front on us on any kind of screen. So, we ran some slips with Ellie (Thompson) on ball screens and got some good looks for her and that really helped.”

Thompson had another big game for A-C Valley scoring a game-high 21 points to go with nine rebounds.

Both defenses held each other in check all night long, as the Lady Cardinals shot just 15 of 41 from the field. A-C Valley wasn’t much better shooting just 17 0f 41. The teams combined for 40 turnovers and just 15 of 41 from the line.

“We got out of our zone press and went to a man-to-man,” Sherman said. “We got them to turn it over a few times after that and that opened the game up for us. We settled a down a little after that, I think we were too tight early on. We’re not used to that. We’re not used to playing in tight games, but this was good, I think we grew tonight. We have to keep moving forward and get ready for next week.”

A-C Valley led 9-8 after one-quarter and 17-14 at halftime.

“Both teams struggled,” Nesbit said. “I don’t know if it was anything special. Maybe it was nerves on both sides. We had several two-on-ones against their press but just couldn’t convert on those.”

After pulling to within four, DCC shot 0 of 6 from field and 0 of 3 from the foul line.

“Those girls played so hard to the point where they were just gassed,” Nesbit said. “Those girls, they’re just battlers. We’re not going to fill up the score sheet. We have to rely on grinding teams down. I thought we did that for the most part. We were right there with them until they made their run mostly because of the offensive rebounds, but you can’t fault the kids for their effort.”

Libby Maurer and Riley Assalone each scored nine to lead DCC.

The semifinal matchup against North Clarion will be the rubber match for the Lady Falcons and She-Wolves, who each defended home court.

“I can’t wait,” Sherman said. “I told Terry Dreihaup (North Clarion’s coach), ‘You know we’re probably going to see each other three times this year.’ And he goes ‘you’re probably right.’ Now here we are.

Story by Shane Lux

A-C VALLEY 44, DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC 36

Score by Quarters

ACV 9 8 18 9 – 44
DCC 8 6 12 10 – 36

A-C VALLEY 44

Ellie Thompson 8 5-7 21, Kylee Eaton 7 0-2 14, Olivia Boocks 1 3-5 5, Annie Viertel 0 1-2 1, Cami McNany 1 1-5 3, Brooke Irwin 0 0-2 0, Emma Fox 0 0-0 0, Madelyn Dittman 0 0-0 0, Angelina Pierotti 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 10-23 44.

DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC – 36

Libby Maurer 3 3-9 9, Jordy Frank 3 1-2 7, Caitlin Drahushak 3 0-0 6, Riley Assalone 4 0-2 9, Gabby Caruso 2 0-2 4, Macey Hanes 0 1-3 1, Ashley Wruble 0 0-0 0, Sabrina Spencer 0 0-0 0 Brenna Engle 0 0-0 0, Alyssa Bittner 0 0-0 0, Haley Pettenati 0 0-0 0, Abbey Pettenati 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 5-18 36.

Three-pointers: DCC 1 (Assalone).


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