Lake Catholic defeats PV in D-III tournament contest

Feb. 28—ANDOVER TOWNSHIP — A schedule-hardened Lake Catholic boys baskeetball team used experience to eke out a 64-59 Division III sectional semifinal tournament win over the Pymatuning Valley Lakers on Tuesday evening.

The Lakers gave the visiting team all they wanted, but the Lake Catholic squad took advantage of a strong second half to advance.

"I'm proud of my boys they battled," Lakers coach Ryan Shontz said. "That's a tough first round draw."

PV (17-6) had a three-point lead late in the second quarter, but the Cougars used its defense, strong ball handling and 3-point shooting to take 25-22 halftime lead.

Lake Catholic continued to expand that lead, going up 36-27 with 4:17 to go in the third quarter.

The Lakers fought back and with 1:10 to play in the game Blake Krznaric hit a shot to bring the Lakers within 56-55.

The game then turned into a free-throw shooting contest, and Lake Catholic hit a better percentage to claim the win.

The Cougars entered the game with an 8-13 record and a No. 28 seed in the sectional-district tournament, but played an extremely difficult schedule.

"I was not happy when I saw them on my bracket," Shontz said. "They are the best team in the district and they are going to prove me right."

Shontz said they are well coached and they "do it right". He credited his seniors for keeping the team in the game and also Ryan Croston, a junior, for working hard to come back from numerous injuries to play in the big game.

"He came out and played his butt off," Shontz said of Croston.

He said the seniors have been a joy to work with the last four years.

"I never had a group work that hard for four years," Shontz said," I am very lucky to have coached them," he said of his seniors that included Seth Bryan, Trevor Clute, Krznaric, Zane Neczeporenko, Brady Tisch and Caydence Wiser.

Shontz said his team did everything they could to get in spots to make shots.

"Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don't," he said.

Krznaric led the way for the Lakers scoring 20 points, followed by Croston with with 11 and Neczeporenko at 10.

Ace Peterlin led paced the Cougars in scoring with 24 points, followed by Aiden Webb with 15 and Jacob Roznman at 14.

The Cougars are scheduled to play at Campbell Memorial on Friday in a sectional final game.