By Jim Hunter
February 6, 2013 7:00 a.m. MEADVILLE —
The fans attending the Meadville-Farrell game Tuesday night got their money’s worth — thanks to the Bulldogs’ Trevor Clune.
After sinking a dramatic 3-pointer at the buzzer in regulation to send the game into overtime, the cool-headed Clune sank a go-ahead, eight-footer with 34 seconds left in double-overtime to give MASH a thrilling 70-68 victory over the Steelers in a crucial Region 5 clash at the House of Thrills.
“In my long career, this was one of the best high school basketball games I’ve been involved in ... and I told the Farrell players that afterwards,” said Meadville coach Norm Price.
The emotional win moved the Bulldogs (13-5, 9-4) into a second-place tie with Franklin as the Knights were knocked off by Sharon, 60-42. Farrell dropped to 11-8 overall and 8-5.
The ’Dogs were nearly upset, too.
Committing nine turnovers and shooting only four-for-12 from the floor, Meadville stumbled out of the gates — falling behind 23-8 after one quarter of action.
Yes ... the scoreboard read: Farrell 23, Meadville 8.
“It was obvious we weren’t ready to play,” said Price. “It looked like Farrell was going to deliver the knockout punch in the first half.”
Switching from zone to man-to-man defense, the Bulldogs chipped away at the deficit in the second quarter.
Trailing 28-14, the determined ’Dogs scored six straight points to cut Farrell’s lead to 28-20 with 3:09 remaining in the first half. The Clune brothers (Trevor and Jason) recorded baskets and sub Faizon McClure scored on a steal.
MASH inched closer in the third quarter.
After McClure sank two free throws, senior guard Zak Price bombed in two long-range 3-pointers to get the Bulldogs within 33-32 with 5:18 showing on the clock.
Farrell didn’t panic.
Smooth-shooting Jason Page — who scorched the nets with a game-high 32 points — tossed in a 3-pointer and scored on a three-point play as the Steelers scored nine unanswered points to take a 42-32 lead with 2:42 left in the third quarter.
Down 43-36, Meadville opened fourth-quarter action with six straight points to get within 43-42 with 6:06 showing on the clock. The bucketers: Trevor Clune, Price and Phil Mottillo.
Receiving a razor-sharp pass from Price, Jason Clune scored on a reverse layup to give MASH its first lead in the game, 44-43 with 3:36 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It was back-and-forth the next three minutes.
Trailing 53-50 with 22 seconds left in regulation, Price dribbled the ball across mid-court and launched a 3-point attempt from the left-wing area with eight seconds on the clock.
The errant shot ricocheted to the right-wing area where Trevor Clune retrieved it and turned and fired away ... SWISH!!!
“That was a big-time shot by Trevor,” said Price. “I had a feeling then we were going to win the game.”
In the first overtime, Trevor Clune scored on an offensive rebound with 1:25 showing on the clock to give the Bulldogs a 58-55 lead.
Page answered back. After connecting on a 3-pointer, the Steelers’ standout scored on a drive with 28 ticks on the clock to tie Meadville, 60-60.
A second overtime.
Trailing 66-64, Trevor Clune went inside and scored and McClure followed with one of the game’s biggest plays with a steal and layup to give the Bulldogs a 68-66 lead with 1:13 remaining on the clock.
“How about that steal by Faizon? ... another big-time play,” said Price.
After Farrell’s Ike Jones scored inside to tie Meadville, 68-68 with 48 seconds on the clock, the Clune fella popped Farrell again.
Falling off-balanced in the lane, Trevor Clune banked in an eight-footer with 34 seconds left in the game to give Meadville a 70-68 lead.
With McClure in his face, Page’s 3-pointer in the final seconds was off the mark ... game over, finally.
’Dog Bones: Trevor Clune was magnificant in the fourth quarter and overtime periods — scoring 17 of his team-high 25 points. He also pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds. ... Price and Jason Clune also hit double digits with 19 and 14 points, respectively. ... Price dished out a team-high six assists. ... McClure had a stellar game off the bench with eight points, six rebounds and three steals. ... The Bulldogs will host Franklin on Thursday at the House of Thrills.