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Tyrone sweeps Penns Valley, advance to District Finals Catich, Brooks, full-court press key second-half surge

Flying Tyrone senior Steve Catich glides in for two of his game-high 21 points, during the Golden Eagles’ 53-30 District 6-AA semifinal victory over Penns Valley at the Hollidaysburg Senior High School on Wednesday. (The Daily Herald/Mary Michaels) Above the crowd Matt Brooks skies above a pair of Penns Valley defenders to put up a jumper during Tyrone’s 53-30 victory at the Hollidaysburg Senior High gym, on Thursday. Brooks helped to key a big second-half effort by the Eagles, and finished with 11 points. (The Daily Herald/Mary Michaels)

Tyrone and Penns Valley met up for the third time, Wednesday night, deciding who will advance to the District six championship on Saturday. The Eagles handled the first two meetings with no problems, but the Rams were ready for a war.
It was a horrendous first quarter for both teams. Tyrone turned the ball over 10 times and scored just seven points, but managed to still lead the Rams by five. Yes, if you are reading this, it was 7-2 after one quarter of play.
The Rams had everything going right for them, except for the fact that they just could not buy a bucket. They were just 1-9 from the field in the first quarter compared to Tyrone’s 2-4 outing. It was ugly, but Tyrone still held the lead.
After four straight points from Taylor Wingard, the Rams found themselves down 7-6 almost three minutes into the second quarter. It was amazing how Tyrone struggled to get any type of offense rolling against the spread zone of Penns Valley.
Tyrone showed some life when Johnny Franco tipped a pass into the back court where Jesse DeLoof clearly looked to be picking the ball up, but Franco dove and slid at least four feet, recovering the ball as DeLoof fouled in desperation. This sent the Eagles on a 5-0 run, giving them a 13-8 lead.
Both teams managed a couple more baskets at the end of the half, but Tyrone had the upper hand by a slim 18-14 lead.
“I told the guys coming into the game that it was going to be a 10 to 12 point game,” Tyrone head coach George Gripp stated. “Coming out of the gates we weren’t ready for them, but we woke up in the locker room during the half to get back into the game.”
Penns Valley definitely woke up the giant in Tyrone, as the Eagles were relentless in the second half. It was like an entire change of teams came onto the floor and started playing for Tyrone.
With the score at 18-14, Tyrone realized that the game should not have been this close and began to smother Penns Valley in the back court, forcing nine turnovers in their 21-3 third quarter rout. From a four-point lead to a 22-point lead in one quarter, the Eagles showed no mercy for the Rams.
Steve Catich came to life in the second half, as he shook a kid to the floor with a slick move and scored at will almost every time he touched the ball. The senior scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in second half. Matt Brooks also hit key shots as the two combined for 14 of the Eagles’ 21 third quarter points.
Tyrone scored the last two points of the first half, which stretched into a 35-4 run from Tyrone into the fourth quarter. The Eagles led 51-18 with 4:35 left in the game as they began hauling off the dogs one-by-one. It was then when the celebrating started as they cruised on to win 53-30 in semi-final action.
“Well, we had more turnovers than points in the first quarter alone,” Gripp said, “which is not going to cut it against Bishop McCort. The second half we looked like a totally different team. At times it looked as though we had seven or eight guys on the floor. That’s how we need to play the whole game and I told the guys afterwards that we need to play a lot better in the finals to beat a good team like McCort.”
With the win, Tyrone (22-4) picked up their 22nd win, and a clean sweep over the Penns Valley Rams. Catich led all scorers with 21 points, and Matt Brooks chipped in 11 in the win. Catich could not be stopped in the second half, cleaning up the boards and making defenders look silly. Brooks hit several key jumpers down the stretch for Tyrone, but without the intensity and tough defense, Tyrone would not have had it so easy last night.
Penns Valley had zero scorers in double-figures, let alone more than seven points. Kevin Montminy led the Rams with six points in the loss as they play Central for the consolation game.
Tyrone will play in Johnstown on Saturday, at 5:00 pm at the War Memorial against the number two-seeded Bishop McCort. The two teams haven’t met this season, so it will be a great time for both of these teams to settle who is the best, once and for all.
Tyrone 53 Penns Valley 30
Tyrone – Catich 9 3-6 21, Brooks 4 3-4 11, Dane 4 0-0 8, Updyke 2 3-3 7, Peterman 1 2-2 5, Gehret 0 1-2 1, Franco 0 0-2 0. Totals 20 12-19 53.
Penns Valley – Kieffer 2 0-1 5, Montminy 3 0-0 6, Wingard 2 1-3 5, DeLoof 2 0-0 4, Weaver 1 0-0 3, Zerby 0 1-2 1, Schnitzler 1 0-0 2, Brown 2 0-0 4. Totals 13 2-6 30.
Score by Quarters
Tyrone 7 12 21 13 – 53
Penns Valley 2 12 3 13 – 30
Three-point goals: Tyrone-1 (Peterman)
Penns Valley-2 (Kieffer, Weaver)