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Tyrone Golden Eagles Boys Basketball team runs to second round of PIAA State Playoffs

Waiting Tyrone’s top duo in rebounding, Nate Dane (23) and Steve Catich (3) wait for the ball. During the 2007-08 season, Catich was first in scoring (626 points) and rebounding (250) and Dane was second in rebounding (167) and scoring (282). (The Daily Herald/Mary Michaels)

What a great season for Tyrone boy’s basketball this year, as the Eagles managed to pull a 360º turnaround from last season. The boys finished with a 23-6 record on the year and finished second in the district. The season ended at Clarion University by Northeast, but the ride was so much fun. It is time to look back and remember everything.
Tyrone started out a little rocky against Huntingdon on opening night in Tyrone, as the Eagles were held to their lowest total of the season, 35 points. The Bearcats beat the Eagles handily, 53-35 and held Steve Catich to just 11 points.
From here, the Eagles bounced back dramatically, as they would win their next six games by an average margin of 21 points. Tyrone put up 68 points a game in those six wins, but were quickly shot back down in the Bishop Guilfoyle Christmas tournament, losing 60-45 to the Marauders.
After snapping their six-game win streak, Tyrone jumped back to their winning ways as they took down the next 12 out of 13 games, including a 10-game winning streak that lasted the entire month of January.
The Eagles looked at an impressive 18-3 record, as they went 12-1 through the month of January, keeping them well atop the division in the MAC. With just three games remaining, Tyrone had to take down Indian Valley, Penns Valley and Philipsburg-Oceola for the overall MAC title.
On February 4th, 2008, Tyrone traveled to Indian Valley where the Eagles lost by three points and their shot at the MAC title. However, the Eagles remained undefeated in the Nittany division since Indian Valley and Huntingdon were both in a separate division.
Tyrone needed to win the next two games for an unbeaten record within the division, and they did exactly that, beating Philipsburg and Penns Valley. The Eagles had the number one seed going into the district playoffs where they awaited a play-in game between Bellwood-Antis and United.
United beat Bellwood to challenge the top contenders, and after trailing 3-0, Tyrone pulled off an outstanding 30-2 run, crushing United, 66-48. The Eagles led as much as 35 points in the game and once again Tyrone was led by Catich with 21 points.
Tyrone traveled to Hollidaysburg to face Penns Valley in the second round match-up, but Tyrone handled this team well throughout the season, so this game shouldn’t have been a problem. Well, a slow start from both teams left the game 18-14 at halftime, but Tyrone managed to outscore the Rams, 33-16 in the second half in their rout to a 53-30 win.
The win put Tyrone in the district six championship where the story came down to a one versus two match-up between the Eagles and Bishop McCort. The match-up was expected since these teams played such a tough schedule and both handled it with ease.
Tyrone jumped out early, going ahead 12-4, but after a 13-5 run, the game was tied at 17 after one. McCort took an early lead in the second, and never looked back. The game was as close as three points in the fourth, but Tyrone never made up the difference as they placed second behind Bishop McCort.
The Eagles entered the state playoffs with a 22-5 record as they faced a streaky Bishop Canevin team that came from the WPIAL. Now everyone knows how tough the WPIAL is, so Tyrone took nothing for granted.
It was all Tyrone for the most part as they kept a 10-point lead through two quarters of action. Tyrone managed to get on top 45-25 at one point in the third quarter, but Canevin quickly climbed back, as they busted off a 16-2 run to cut the lead to 47-41. With little time remaining in the game, Tyrone hit clutch free throws, and broke the backcourt pressure. The Eagles managed and pulled off a 60-47 victory as they headed to the second round of the state playoffs.
Tyrone had their match-up of the season as they took on a 26-1 Northeast Grape Pickers squad that had crushed teams throughout their great run. The Eagles were not fazed by the record and jumped out to an early 12-4 lead, but a last second buzzer shot cut it to 12-7 after one period. Tyrone did not score for the first few minutes in the second. This caused a 11-0 run by Northeast before Tyrone could manage to score.
The Eagles knocked down the last six points to take a 22-21 lead at halftime, as they were playing one of the best games this year has brought to Tyrone.
After getting behind 37-29 after three-quarters, Tyrone fought back and knotted the game up at 41 behind two clutch free throws from Matt Brooks. He was also a key piece to their puzzle this season as the senior finished third in scoring for Tyrone behind Nate Dane and Catich.
With a 41-41 tie, Northeast quickly took a 46-41 lead behind two Tyrone turnovers. Tyrone answered with a Kyle Updyke trey, cutting it to 46-44 with under one minute to go in the game. Tyrone was clutch, but could not manage to cut the four-point lead in the end, losing 50-46 in their last game.
The Eagles finished with an outstanding 23-6 record, and swept every team except Huntingdon and Indian Valley this season. They even beat Penns Valley three times, but more impressive, they had almost eight deep to play with and had no intentions of losing at any point to anyone.
This was one of the most impressive seasons in Tyrone boys basketball history, and one of the highest scoring outputs for one year as a team.
Tyrone averaged 62 points per game and gave up 49 points a contest. The average victory was 13 points, which is an amazing margin of victory for an entire year. Catich led Tyrone in scoring with 626 points, and averaged 21.6 points a game. Dane, Brooks and Updyke each scored over 200 points on the season.
Brandon Gehret led Tyrone in assists with 137 and tied Catich in steals with 61. He was the senior point guard that kept them going through the playoffs with some clutch shooting down the stretch of the season.
Catich, Brooks, Gehret and Johnny Franco all finished their senior seasons on a high, winning 23 games and proving that Tyrone basketball was not a flaw as was once said early in the season. The Eagles defied all odds and made it to the second round of the state playoffs for just the second time in school history (Mike Harris 2001-02).
Catich scored 1,000 points for his career and placed his name on the record list of the few who have accomplished this achievement. He led Tyrone for the past few years in scoring and turned on the jets in his final year with hard work and dedication to his team. He was the leader and was the heart behind this giant. He will be greatly missed by his fellow teammates as well as the other three seniors who carried this squad through thick and thin. Catich managed to lead Tyrone in scoring for 24 of their 29 games this season. If that tells you anything, this kid can play.
A great season to remember, but all seasons come to an end someway, somehow. Congratulations to Tyrone and their spectacular year!