BOYS HOOPS: Fighting chance: Knights lose to Cochranton, still in line for PIAA?berth with consolation win

MEADVILLE – Eisenhower’s second postseason trip to Meadville’s “House of Thrills” was a little less thrilling, at least for one side.

The Knights were defeated by top-seeded Cochranton, 61-33, in the semifinal round of the District 10 Class A Tournament Tuesday at Meadville High School. It was Ike’s third loss to the Cardinals this year after suffering a pair of lopsided defeats to the Region 3-champions during the regular season.

“That was what I expected from Cochranton; it just wasn’t what I expected from our team,” said Eisenhower coach Dave Allenson. “We needed to be more patient. Our gameplan was to hold on to the ball and control the clock, and the first shot we take is a three-pointer. That isn’t being patient.”

The loss isn’t the end of the road for the Knights (14-9), who will meet Kennedy Catholic on Friday for third place and a spot in the PIAA Class A playoffs. Kennedy Catholic was defeated by Erie First Christian in Tuesday’s other semifinal game, 64-49.

Cochranton (20-3) jumped ahead of the Knights early, thanks to a pair of buckets from Josh Vanderhoof and two free throws from Nick Dickson.

It took until midway through the first quarter for a Tre Frank layup to put Ike on the board, and Cochranton took a 10-5 lead after one.

The Cardinal shooters began to heat up in the second with five of the team’s six three-pointers coming in that frame. Logan Herzberger, Garrett Adams, and Dickson accounted for 19 of Cochranton’s 21 points in the quarter to put the Knights behind the 8-ball heading into the locker room.

The third quarter would also belong to the Cardinals, or more accurately, it would belong to Nate Wigton. The junior guard scored every one of his team-leading 14 points in the third to help Cochranton lengthen the lead. Eisenhower’s Casey Vincent did his best to match with three three-pointers for nine of the Knights’ 13 points, but the gap was too much to overcome.

Frank and Vincent finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively, to lead the Knights on the scoresheet.

Wigton led a balanced attack for the Cardinals with his 14, Adams added 12, Dickson 11, Vanderhoof 10, and Herzberger eight. As a team, Cochranton shot 13-of-16 from the free throw line.

Cochranton and Erie First will meet for the District 10 Class A Championship – also on Friday – in a rematch of a regular season game that the Cardinals won by a score of 57-45.

Sites and times of Friday’s championship and consolation games had not been released as of Tuesday night.

EISENHOWER (33): Frank 5 1-3 12, Vincent 3 2-2 11, Farrell 1 0-2 2, J. Johnson 1 0-0 2, Sanders 0 0-0 0, Hunt 0 0-0 0, A. Johnson 1 2-4 4, Zortman 0 2-2 2, Warren 0 0-0 0, Venman 0 0-0 0, B. Harvey 0 0-0 0, J. Harvey 0 0-0 0, Wolcott 0 0-0 0, Elmquist 0 0-0 0; Totals 11 7-13 33.

COCHRANTON (61): Herzberger 2 2-2 8, Dickson 4 2-5 11, Vanderhoof 4 2-2 10, Adams 4 2-2 12, Z. Wigton 0 2-2 2, N. Wigton 6 1-1 14, Staudt 0 2-2 2, Sekerski 1 0-0 2; Totals 21 13-16 61.

Eisenhower 5 11 13 4 – 33

Cochranton 10 21 18 12 – 61

3-pointers: E – Frank 1, Vincent 3; C – Herzberger 2, Dickson 1, Adams 2, N. Wigton 1.