By: Josh Yourish
When your last PIAA playoff appearance was 1985, and you’ve been searching for a state playoff win since 1969, a two and a half hour ride and an extra period of basketball seems inconsequential. On Saturday in Clearfield the WPIAL sixth seed, Deer Lakes ended their wait with a 56-52 overtime win over District 9 champion Brookville.
The excitement from a 50 year wait, quickly turned into a 7-0 lead for Deer Lakes to start the ballgame. The offense was spurred by Junior, Jack Hollibaugh with 8 points in the opening frame. Brookville settled down after a timeout however and stormed back to tie the game at 15 after one quarter.
The difference throughout was the Lancers’ ability to force turnovers. 11 in the first half alone, and 22 for the game. However, they were unable to capitalize enough off of the turnover differential and entered the half with just a 5 point lead.
At the end of a back and forth third quarter the lead was unchanged. The separation began to come for Deer Lakes in the final frame when with 3:44 a free throw from Junior point guard, Zac Herbinko stretched the lead to eight. Brookville surged and the lead quickly vanished. With 1:27 left, Brookville’s Aaron Park converted from the line to bring the deficit to just 1 point.
Then with 1:07 left in the game chaos ensued. Brookville’s head coach attempted to call for a timeout as the Lancers advanced the ball down the floor. The referees stopped the game, either to grant the timeout or correctly assess a technical foul on the Raiders for the infraction of calling a timeout without the ball. Instead of either of those two outcomes, the referee proceeded to request the ball from Deer Lakes senior Colin Kadlick, and after mishandling the pass proceeded to assess a technical foul on the Lancers’ forward.
The result was two Aaron Park free-throws and a 3-pointer from David Cable with 38 seconds remaining to take a two-point lead, their first of the game. Zac Herbinko answered with a putback to tie the game at 47. That’s when the referees became a storyline once again, only this time it was in Deer Lakes’ favor. Aaron Park drove the baseline to the basket and put up a shot to win the game for the Raiders with just 1.2 seconds remaining, but there was Brad Perrotte. The Deer Lakes senior and leading scorer on the night with 23 points, made his biggest play of the game on the defensive end. He took a charge that negated Park’s basket and sent the game to overtime.
The play of the Lancers harkened back to basketball in the 1980s, before the advent of the 3-point line. They didn’t convert even one basket from beyond the arc through regulation and then took it even a step further in the overtime period. Not only did they not convert from deep, but they didn’t even convert from the field. All nine of their points came from the free-throw line, going 9-14 in the biggest moment of their basketball lives. For Deer Lakes, Aris Hasley shot just 2-4 in the extra time, but the ones he made, he made count. 1-2 from the line to give the Lancers a three point lead, and after a missed David Cable corner 3-pointer to tie the game, the Junior grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Headed to the free-throw line with just 7.4 seconds, up three, he essentially needed to make just one to secure the victory. After his first attempt missed wide right, his second attempt: nothing but net. Brookville’s final attempt from beyond the arc missed and Kadlick secured his 11 and most important rebound of the historic night.
The 2019 Deer Lakes Lancers Boys Basketball team has ended many droughts: best start to a section season since 1987, first outright section title since 1992, first playoff win since 1985, but now they’ve done something that no other team in Deer Lakes history has. They won a state playoff game. They look to win another on Wednesday as they take on Forest Hills who defeated North Catholic 64-51 in their first-round state playoff game.