BOARDMAN, OH – Just a few days prior to the one-year anniversary of Chaney’s heartbreaking overtime loss to the Poland Bulldogs in last year’s District Final, the Cowboys (19-6) completed their revenge tour with a 53-50 victory over the Struthers Wildcats (23-4). The Cowboys had a dominant second quarter, featuring a 14-0 run to start. The Wildcats would win each quarter beside one, proving Chaney’s 19-6 second quarter was too much.
Trailing by as much as 16, the Wildcats were able to fight their way back into the game. With just 52 seconds remaining, Struthers trailed by only 4. The Wildcats had only 5 team fouls so far in the half and as time ran down, they waited for the ball to get out of the hands of Chaney’s quality free throw shooters before they decided to foul, wasting almost 25 seconds without even sending a Cowboy to the line. With their next foul, Chaney’s Quincy Jones headed to the line for a one and one with just 26 seconds remaining. Jones would miss the front end, and Struthers’ Aidan Slocum would go coast to coast in just 6 seconds for a layup, bringing the margin to just 2. After a Struthers timeout, the Wildcats had a trap on Chaney’s Sharrod Taylor but Taylor would break free and after being fouled, would head to the line with 12 seconds remaining. Chaney would again miss the front end of the one and one, but an offensive rebound from Will Brown would keep the ball in the Cowboy’s hands and Struthers would be forced to send Chaney back to the line.
With the ball now in the hands of Travis Easterly, Chaney would miss the front end of the one and one for the third straight time and Struthers’ Carson Ryan grabbed the rebound. With only 6.1 seconds remaining, Ryan looking to push would turn the ball over on Struthers’s own end. An intentional foul sent Easterly back to the line for two shots, converting on one, putting the Cowboys ahead 53-50. With the ball still in hand due to the intentional foul, Chaney inbounded the ball off of Easterly’s foot, giving Struthers a chance with just 0.9 seconds remaining. Brandon Washington’s full-court heave would hit off the rafters, ending the Wildcats season.
Chaney Cowboys: Struthers Wildcats:
Travis Easterly – 19 points /Jared Laczko – 14 points
Cameron Lawrence – 12 points /Aidan Slocum – 12 points
Quincy Jones – 10 points /Trey Metzka – 12 points
Sharrod Taylor – 10 points /Brandon Washington – 6 points
Will Brown – 2 points /Carson Ryan – 6 points
Chaney must now face the #2 ranked team in the final D2 poll, Akron St. Vincent-St Mary. With a record of 21-4, the Saint V’s Fight Irish are ranked #23 in the Nation according to Maxpreps and have lost games only to Sierra Canyon, home of Bronny James and ranked #2 in the Nation, Chaminade of Missouri, the #2 ranked Division 1 team in Ohio, Saint Ed’s, and the #5 ranked team in Division 2, Lutheran East. The Cowboys and Irish will face off Thursday the 12th at 6:00 pm at the Civic Center in Canton.
*Story contributed by YSN’s Jamie Thomson