The Southern Huntingdon boys’ basketball team opened its bid for a District 6 title Thursday night at Homer Center in the first game of the PIAA District 6-2A Tournament. The Rockets were outsized inside and that put them into early foul trouble. Turnovers cost them in the third quarter as fourth seeded Homer Center opened a lead. The Wildcats wouldn’t allow the Rockets to battle back and claimed a 68-51 decision.
The fifth seeded Rockets put three players in double digits. Ryder Hileman and Ethan Taylor scored 12-points apiece. Lance Carbaugh hit for 11.
Southern ended the season with a 14-9 mark. The Wildcats (15-8) move into the semifinal round against top-seeded Bishop Guilfoyle Monday. They will advance to the PIAA State Tournament. The 2A bracket advances four teams.
“We got ourselves into early foul trouble inside and with the size the they had over us caused problems,” commented Rocket head coach Stacy Horne. “The team got off to a good start and we played well in the first half staying close. In the second half we had issues getting our offense set up and took too many outside shots. We were just three of 23 from outside the arc. Their big guys did most of the scoring for them all night.”
The Rockets and the Wildcats matched up well to get the game started. Hileman scored 10 of the Rockets 12points. The Wildcats spread the offense around with all five players scoring to take a one-point lead.
Junior Ryan Sardone, a 6-5 center, hit for six points and two from the foul line in the second quarter. The Wildcats scored 17 in the frame. The Rockets scattered 10 points around in the quarter and fell behind by eight going into the break.
Southern cut the lead to five-points off six by both Riley Snyder and Carbaugh. Taylor added a trey and a bucket with the Rockets scoring 18 points. Homer Center continued to score with the Rockets in foul trouble and sitting a starter. Blake Henry knocked down six points and Jaden Evanick hit for nine to help total 20 in the frame to extend the lead to 10 points going into the fourth quarter.
The Rockets scored 11 points in the final eight minutes with six players putting numbers up but could not cut into the 18-points the Wildcats scored.
Sardone ended the night with 20 points. Evanick hit for 16 points and Henry added 13-points to the Wildcat total.
The Rockets had 25 turnovers and the Wildcats lost 15. The Rockets hit 21 of 70 shots (30 percent), the Wildcats hit 28 of 64 (44 percent).