Get’cha head in the (playoff) Game

State Highs Junior Drew Friberg at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown against the Butler Golden Tornadoes.

State High’s Junior Drew Friberg at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown against the Butler Golden Tornadoes.

Olivia Webb, Staff Writer

The State College Little Lions faced off against the Butler Golden Tornadoes in a playoff game at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown on Thursday, March 16. The game proved to be even matched, as the scores were neck and neck throughout as both teams fought hard to continue on. The Little lions started off strong, starting seniors Tommy Secunda and Eli Bokunewicz, juniors Ryan McNulty and Drew Friberg, and sophomore Tommy Friberg. At the end of the first State College led 15-10, with top scorer Tommy Secunda, who scored 6 points. In the second quarter the Golden Tornadoes stepped up and at the half the score was 27, Butler, 24, State High. By the end of the third quarter, Junior Drew Friberg was taken out of the game with an ankle injury and the lions had managed to close the gap from a 36-27 lead in favor of the Golden Tornadoes to 38-36 lead, still in favor of the Golden Tornadoes.

The fourth quarter proved to be the most exciting as well as the most stressful quarter for both teams. Drew Friberg rejoined the team at the beginning of the fourth quarter and early on was fouled, missing the foul shot, but the team managed to tie it up 38-38. Both Butler and State College had the lead several times in the quarter, and with 3:30 left in the quarter Butler was up by one, 43-42. A scuffle for a loose ball between State College’s Brandon Clark and Butler’s Tyler Frederick resulted in two free throws for Frederick, both of which he made. With 1:50 left Drew Friberg sunk a three pointer to tie the game. Afterwards Butler and State College each earned another two points. With one minute until the end of the quarter, the teams were tied 49-49. Butler took and missed two shots, and the game went into overtime.

A high school overtime quarter consists of four minutes, in which at the end the team with the highest score is named the winner. Both the Golden Tornadoes and the Little Lions missed their shots on their first possessions of the over time, and State High sophomore Keaton Ellis fouled Butler’s number 25, who missed his foul shot. State High’s sophomore Tommy Friberg then got fouled after they regained possession with 1:20 left, and he made the second of his two shots. With State High up by one point, Keaton Ellis fouled out with 27 seconds left, and Butler’s number 25 made both of his foul shots. After State College called a timeout, Butler’s physical defense managed to recover the ball and score two more points, making it a three point lead. With 2.9 seconds left, State high took a timeout. Once ready, State High’s Tommy Friberg attempted to throw the ball in bounds, but a Butler player intercepted the pass in bounds to win the game, 53-50.

Although an upsetting loss, the State High boys team played a good game the entire time. “It was an awesome game to be a part of, not everything went the way we wanted it to but that’s the game of basketball.” Tommy Secunda, the team’s top scorer for the game with fourteen points, said afterwards. Ryan McNulty also finished the game with 11 points. This game was the first time since 2009 that the State College boy’s varsity team made it past the first round of playoffs. The team had a fantastic season, though, with their first ever Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division Championship win and first ever Mid-Penn Conference Tournament Championship win as well as their third consecutive District 6 Championship win.