BOYS HOOPS: A win gets Knights back to states

Eisenhower has been here before.

After losing to Cochranton in last year’s District 10 Class A semifinals, the Knights went on to defeat VisionQuest in the third-place game to earn a spot in the PIAA state tournament.

History has a chance to repeat itself on Friday, as Ike takes on Kennedy Catholic in the consolation matchup at 6:30 p.m. at Edinboro’s McComb Fieldhouse.

While the Knights have experience playing in the third-place game, it’s not exactly what Kennedy Catholic fans have been accustomed to. The Golden Eagles took first in Class A last year, and had won 12 straight District 10 titles prior to 2010.

Kennedy Catholic (13-9 overall, 8-0 in Region 1) received a first-round bye to start the tournament, but finds itself in Friday’s consolation game after a 64-49 loss to Erie First Christian in the semifinal round. Andre Campbell, a 5’7″ junior guard, led the Golden Eagles with 18 points in that game. He’s averaging 14.1 points per game heading into Friday, while teammate Gerald Zachar averages 10.4.

As a team, the Golden Eagles score 54.4 points per game and allow 51.5 on average.

Jarrett Johnson has scored 25 points and Tre Frank has 20 through two postseason games for the Knights (14-9 overall, 8-4 in Region 3). Frank is averaging 10.6 points per game in 23 contests this season, Casey Vincent averages 9.7, and Johnson averages 9.2.

Frank and Carter Farrell take care of most of the ballhandling duties for the Knights with Kyle Hunt and Ricky Zortman filling in off the bench. Jarrett Johnson and Chris Sanders see a significant amount of action in the paint, while Alex Johnson and John Potts have the ability to play either a guard or forward position as substitutes.

If needed, head coach Dave Allenson also has reserves Grant Venman, Thomas Warren, Ben Harvey, Jake Harvey, and Allan Jackson ready to go.

Ike and Kennedy Catholic have a pair of common opponents in Cochranton and Rocky Grove. Kennedy Catholic was defeated by Cochranton, 51-30, and beat Rocky Grove twice by scores of 85-70 and 71-55. Cochranton defeated Eisenhower three times this season – all by margins of 20 points or more- and the Knights topped Rocky Grove in the D10 quarterfinals, 56-44.

The winner of Friday’s consolation game will advance to play the District 9 champion in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. That spot will be decided when Elk County Catholic and Ridgway meet for the title on Saturday.

Cochranton and Erie First will play for the District 10 Class A Championship at 8 p.m., Friday, at Slippery Rock’s Morrow Field House.