Rams win 55-39 over Rovers in final tune up before playoffs
JOHNSONBURG – With the Allegheny Mountain League playoffs beginning Thursday and the District 9 Class A playoffs most likely starting next weekend, the Johnsonburg Rams looked sharp in their final regular season game Monday night against the Brockway Rovers, jumping out to a 25-8 lead on their way to a 55-39 win at Johnsonburg Area High School.
“This was a good way to end the season,” Johnsonburg head coach Dan Nelson said. “We are not happy at 11-11, but we are happy we will be playing more basketball. We are in the AML playoff, we are into the D9 playoff, school rules are you have to be .500 to enter the D9 playoffs, and we secured that tonight,” Nelson said.
Luke Zimmerman and Isaiah Jackson got the Rams off and running, both hitting gimmes in the paint to stake the Rams to a 4-0 lead. Another basket by Zimmerman and one from Aaron Myers had Johnsonburg up 8-0, forcing a Rover timeout. Brockway’s Brady Demonte hit a triple coming out of the timeout to cut the lead to 8-3, but Jackson and Myers again scored in the paint putting the Rams up 12-2. After a Brady Hughes jumper for the Rovers made it 12-4, Nick Myers scored on a nice dish from Aaron Myers and Zimmerman hit again for a 16-4 Johnsonburg lead. Kole Asti and Eric Hoffman both scored on layups inside and add a pair of free throws and a three-pointer by Jackson and Johnsonburg held a 25-8 advantage after the first quarter.
A steal by Jackson, who then found a streaking Hoffman for a layup got the scoring going in the second quarter. Asti would score again when Jake Lobaugh found him open under the basket for a 29-8 lead. Three free throws from the Rovers cut the lead to 29-11, but a trey from Lobaugh and a steal from Hoffman which led to a Zimmerman layup resulted a 34-11 lead and another Brockway timeout. Unfortunately for Brockway, this time coming out of the timeout it was the Rams who would go on a little run, scoring six of the next eight points to take a 40-13 lead. A three Demonte would end the scoring for the half, with the Rams leading 40-16 at halftime.
Johnsonburg came out of the locker room and scored the first six points of the quarter, a basket each from Aaron Myers, Jackson and Lobaugh, pushing their lead to thirty, 46-16, and evoking the continuous clock rule from there on out.
Brockway would actually outscore the Rams the rest of the way, 23-9, but the damage was already done, and Johnsonburg improved to 11-11 on the season, making them playoff eligible by school rules.
Johnsonburg got a game high 17 points from Jackson, who also added 4 steals and 2 assists to his game resume. Lobaugh also hit double figures with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots. Aaron Myers and Zimmerman both finished the night with 8 points, Myers adding 7 assists, while Zimmerman pitched in with 3 assists.
Leading the Rovers was Alex Carlson with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Demonte finished the night with 10 points. Hughes added 9 tallies and 3 rebounds.
Monday marked the last time the Rams four seniors, Jake Lobaugh, Aaron Myers, Kole Asti and Brent Defranco would play on their home floor and in front of their home fans.
“We have talked about having the most positive experience the next three weeks to end their experience here in Johnsonburg the best way possible,” Nelson said of the quartet. “That is what is all about, entering the playoffs, getting to Clarion, we didn’t last year and we want to this year,” Nelson said. “We are rallying around those guys and we are hoping that they can pull us where we want to go,” Nelson added.
Next up for the Rams will be the Ridgway Elkers Thursday night in the Allegheny Mountain league semifinals. The game will be played at St. Marys High School, with the winner advancing to take on either Elk County Catholic or St. Marys in the championship game Saturday inside The Dutch Oven at SMAHS.
Johnsonburg holds the 2-1 advantage so far this season over Ridgway, beating them 51-46 at the Elk County Holiday Tournament, and again at home 4930. They lost to the Elkers Saturday 46-33.
“We weren’t happy with what happened over there on Saturday, they had a good game, very well coached, we had a tough night against Kane on Friday and then had a rough time against them on Saturday, so we are going to practice really hard the next two days and try and right the ship,” Nelson said of the upcoming fourth contest against the Elkers.
Game notes: The Rams will have to do a better job in the playoffs from the charity stripe if they plan on advancing, going just 2 for 7 (28%) Monday… The Rams finished with 16 assists and 13 steals as a team…7 players found the hoop and 11 made their way onto the floor against Brockway.
Box Score Score by quarters:
1 2 3 4 T Brockway
8 8 15 8 39 Johnsonburg
25 15 10 5 55 Brockway scoring: Vinny Cavalline 0-0-0-0 , Isaac Crawford 0-0-0-0 , Alex Carlson 4-3-4-12 , Brady Demonte 3-1-210 , Brady Hughes 4-00-9 , Reese Yahner 1-22-4 , Aiden Grieneisen 1-0-1-2 , Team totals 14-6-9-39.
Johnsonburg scoring: Aaron Myers 4-00-8 , Luke Zimmerman 4-0-0-8 , Noah Stauffer 0-0-0-0 , Eric Hoffman 2-0-0-4 , Kole Asti 2-02-4, Jake Lobaugh 5-02-12 , Isaiah Jackson 7-2-3-15 , Nick Myers 1-0-0-2 , Brent Defranco 0-0-0-0 , Garrett Lehman 0-0-0-0 , Team totals 25-2-7-55.
Three pointers : Brockway 5 (Demonte 3, Hughes, Carlson) , Johnsonburg 3 (Lobaugh 2, Jackson)