Advertisement

Berlin Brothersvalley runs through Turkeyfoot Valley en route to fifth straight District 5-1A boys crown

Mar. 2—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Pace Prosser's 4-for-4 clip from 3-point range helped top-seeded Berlin Brothersvalley set an emphatic early tone on its way to an 81-43 victory over Turkeyfoot Valley in Friday's District 5 Class 1A boys basketball championship game at the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center.

The Gannon University recruit — along with his fellow seniors — can also claim a 4-for-4 run in District 5-1A crowns after setting aside the upstart Rams.

The Mountaineers, PIAA runner-up in Class 1A a season ago, captured their fifth straight district title in 1A and eighth in nine seasons with three 2A championships from 2016 to '18.

"It's special," Prosser said following his 33-point night. "Not a lot of people have went 4 of 4. It's pretty special to be able to do it. It's always the goal coming into the year."

Having cut the nets in five consecutive years, the Mountaineers now boast two classes to have played their entire varsity careers with gold at the end of the District 5 tournament.

"It's pretty cool," Berlin Brothersvalley coach Tanner Prosser said. "Every kid in the locker room doesn't know anything but winning a District 5 championship. We've had that last year and this year, so I'm proud of our kids. I told our younger guys that they'll have to keep working to keep that rolling along. It's an opportunity to go and compete in the state playoffs, and I know we're looking forward and excited to do that."

A Pace Prosser 3-pointer opened the scoring just over a minute into the game. By the time that he hit his fourth trey, the Mountaineers (24-2) led 24-9 and were just starting to pick up steam while the Rams' defensive looks had Tanner Prosser digging for answers.

"I was trying to understand how they were guarding him, to be honest," Tanner Prosser said. "I was a little confused. We got some good looks and knocked some shots down."

Keeping all of the Mountaineers' firepower under wraps can be a tall task, and one that the Rams (19-6) made every effort to tackle on the whiteboard and on the floor.

"It's not like we didn't try to put something on him," Turkeyfoot Valley coach Eric Swank said. "He's just a fantastic player. By far, probably one of the best players I've seen since I've been coaching."

If the hot streak was more a credit to Berlin Brothersvalley's work when in possession, Pace Prosser reveled that there wasn't much secret in the Mountaineers' secret sauce.

"Just move the ball," Pace Prosser said. "Move without the ball. Eventually we're going to get some good looks. It's all about knocking them down."

Running into an in-stride Berlin Brothersvalley didn't sour the experience of the Rams' trek to Pitt-Johnstown, however.

"I don't think we have to regroup," Swank said. "As I told them, 'Turkeyfoot (Valley) has not been here since 2001. This was just icing on the cake to get here. We got here. We gave it our all. We got beat by the No. 1 team in the state in Single-A. I watched them play against Uniontown and they're a great team. We got what we wanted. We'll be fine."

The Mountaineers, with 19 points from Pace Prosser, led 33-11 after a quarter and didn't ease up in the second frame with a 24-10 scoring edge. Up 42-19 after a bucket by the Rams' Bryce Nicholson, Berlin Brothersvalley scored the next 15 points with a pair of free throws by Craig Jarvis, two baskets from Levi Leonard and a 3-point barrage with a triple from Jarvis and two more from Pace Prosser to make it 51-19. Nicholson's runner with 2 seconds left capped the second-quarter scoring.

With the running clock in play for the entirety of the second half, Hayden Hutzell rattled in 10 of his 17 points as the Mountaineers held a 75-27 lead after three quarters. Jarvis scored on a conventional 3-point play to cap his 12-point scoring effort while a Pace Prosser dunk marked his only second-half output.

Nicholson's 18 points topped Turkeyfoot Valley, while Colt Rugg added 13 more.

Berlin Brothersvalley will open its quest for a PIAA championship on March 9 when it faces District 6 third-place finisher Conemaugh Valley. Turkeyfoot Valley, which played in the District 5 final for the first time since 2001, will take on District 7 No. 3 Union, also on March 9.