Blairsville dominates Tyrone in Kovacik Christmas Tourney Finals

After last year’s disaster in the finals of the Kovacik Tourney, Tyrone looked for revenge in this years finals as they had their rematch from last year against Blairsville.
Blairsville wasn’t a push-over team, however, as they made it to the Western Finals last year in single A. After leading by 18 at halftime, Tyrone lost to Blairsville in the championship game on Blairsville’s home floor. It was a heartbreaking loss, but Tyrone definitely wanted to win this years tournament more than ever.
After a slow first quarter, Tyrone trailed Blairsville by a mere six points as Andy Ostach led the way for the Bobcats scoring eight of the 15 points. Wilson led Tyrone scoring five of their nine going 3-4 from the foul line. It was all defense from the Bobcats as they pressed Tyrone early and kept the heat on throughout the game. They didn’t force many turnovers, but it definitely changed the way Tyrone handled their offense as they were spread across the entire floor and really didn’t find many open shots once they moved the ball past half court.
With an 8-2 run by Blairsville going into the second quarter, Tyrone was having trouble finding any type of momentum swing throughout the first half.
As the second quarter rolled in, Ostach wasted no time as he drove hard to the hoop and recorded the “and-one” with the successful foul shot. The ensuing possession really lit the crowd up as Ostach stole the ball and turned a routine lay-up into a wild, two-handed slam to make the score 20-9.
With the crowd and momentum on their side, Blairsville looked to put the Eagles away in the first half with their high-powered offense. The crowd shook the place after Ostach’s dunk, but Shane Barr mixed in two, only to be answered by a Brett Gunder lay-up that kept the nine-point lead in tact.
Blairsville stretched their lead to 26-13 with 4:54 to go in the half until Tyrone went on a 7-1 run which forced Blairsville to call a timeout with 1:47 to go in the half (27-20).
Tyrone stunned the tenacious press of Blairsville to get themselves right back in the game, trailing by just seven points with two minutes to go.
After the timeout, Blairsville must have talked something sweet over in the huddle, finishing the half with an 8-5 run and going ahead 34-25 after the first half of play.
Tyrone was in the game, they just couldn’t pull down rebounds on the defensive side which gave Blairsville too many second-shot opportunities. With their size and control on offense, Blairsville looked like they could run away at any point in the game.
“Last year we had them on the ropes and we couldn’t put them away,” Tyrone coach Mike Harris stated. “This time we played and we missed too many lay-ups in the first half of the game. We missed nine lay-ups in the first half which put us down by nine instead of up by nine. At halftime we had to make the adjustments and they didn’t which made a big difference in the game. If we went up nine at halftime, then they have to make changes to get themselves back into the game. That wasn’t the case tonight.”
As the third quarter got underway, Tyrone looked to score on every opportunity they could, but the Eagles just couldn’t get that intensity they were looking for, and they were outscored and outplayed in the second half.
With 4:01 to go in the third quarter, Blairsville tore off 14 unanswered points to spread the score to 48-28 and Tyrone just couldn’t cover. It was Adam Highberger’s quickness and creative passing that moved Blairsville ahead of Tyrone so quickly and efficiently. They made few mistakes and ran the floor to perfection.
Tyrone really didn’t answer much of the Bobcats shots as they seemed to miss every opportunity they had at the offensive side of the court. The intense defense forced Tyrone to miss short peepers and make bad decisions with passing.
The fourth quarter wasn’t much different, except for Andy Ostach scoring his 1,000th point late in the fourth quarter to add insult to injury. Tyrone trailed by an average of 15-20 points the entire fourth quarter. With Leonard Wilson fouling out early in the fourth quarter, Tyrone seemed to lose all of their life on the court as Ostach drained the last jumper of the game to give him the 1000.
“We need to play better defense,” Harris said. “This team was good, no joke, but we have to do a better job defensively in the future. They absolutely crushed us on the boards, so rebounding is another thing we have to improve as well.”
The final ended up 80-58 as Tyrone placed 2nd two years straight at the hands of the Blairsville Bobcats. Tyrone fell to 4-6 on the season and 1-4 in tournament action this season.
Byron Kost led Tyrone with 12 points in the loss against Blairsville, and Steve Catich added 10.
Blairsville improved their record to 9-2 and recorded their ninth straight win going into the new year. Andy Ostach led all scorers with 31 points and played a tough game under the boards.
“It’s good to get out and get the players into different levels of play in the tournaments,” Harris said. “The last two years we have had opportunities that we let slip through our fingers. We just have to get better, that’s all.”
Blairsville 80 Tyrone 58
Tyrone – Wilson 1 3-5 5, Corle 2 1-2 6, Clark 1 0-0 2, Morrow 2 0-0 4, Catich 3 4-4 10, Kost 4 3-5 12, Barr 2 0-1 4, Brockett 0 1-4 1, Hoover 2 2-4 6, Branstetter 1 0-0 2, Stover 1 0-0 2, Franco 2 0-0 4. Totals 22 14-25 58.
Blairsville – Ostach 13 5-9 31, DeMarines 5 4-4 16, Highberger 6 2-3 15, Gunder 3 2-4 8, Nadeo 2 0-0 4, Manarelli 0 3-4 3, Sabella 1 1-2 3. Totals 30 17-26 80.
Score by Quarters
Tyrone 9 16 18 15 – 58
Blairsville 15 19 23 23 – 80
Three-point goals Tyrone-2 (Corle, Kost).
Blairsville-3 (DeMarines-2, Highberger).