Serra Catholic staves off Springdale comeback bid to score key section win

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Tuesday, January 30, 2024 | 9:59 PM


The Donald McGhee Fieldhouse was rocking late as the Springdale boys basketball team was attempting a dramatic comeback from down double digits in the fourth quarter.

But Isiah Petty went to the free throw line and made sure all the work Serra Catholic had done in the second half wouldn’t go to waste.

Petty sank four free throws in the final 30 seconds to help the Eagles secure an important 64-57 victory over the Dynamos on Tuesday night.

With the win, Serra Catholic (11-6, 5-4) took sole possession of fourth place in the Section 3-2A standings and earned a season sweep of Springdale (13-6, 4-5). The Eagles beat the Dynamos, 77-74, on Jan. 5

Petty finished with a game-high 24 points, none bigger than the four free throws he sank late after Springdale had made a 17-2 run to cut a once-comfortable lead down to four points.

“I told (Petty) good job hitting those free throws and getting us out of here,” Eagles coach A.J. Corso said. “He’s a great player and a great leader. That’s why his teammates voted him as our captain.”

Serra Catholic used a 15-0 run between the third and fourth quarters to balloon its lead to 57-40, but Springdale stormed back in the fourth using a balanced attack and some quick transition buckets. The Dynamos got within two points before Petty sank his free throws.

The rally ultimately fell short, and two major areas hampered Springdale all night: turnovers and poor free-throw shooting.

Those two facets really reared their head in the second quarter. The Dynamos led 22-16 after one but managed six points in the second and turned the ball over eight times. They also went 1 for 10 from the free-throw line in the first half.

For the game, Springdale had 21 turnovers and made only five of their 18 foul shots.

“When you lose those battles, that’s a tough combination to overcome,” Springdale coach Kobe Phillippi said. “We struggled from the line, and on the other side of the coin, they missed two free throws all night. They have some good players. Petty and (Pete) Burke are really good players. We actually got let off the hook a bit because Owen Dumbroski only had nine. He’s a really good 3-point shooter.”

The Eagles fed off their defense and used a 10-0 run in the second to take command. They led 33-28 at halftime and stayed in front the rest of the way.

“The guys really bought in on defense,” Corso said. “Mason Gent is a really good player, and our goal was to keep him under 20 and we were able to do that. We have been playing pretty well ever since the first Greensburg Central Catholic game (in December), so I was confident in our guys coming into tonight.”

Burke finished with 17 points.

Gent led Springdale in scoring with 16. Jackson Pribanic had 14, and John Hughes added 11.

Springdale is still mathematically alive for a postseason berth, but will need to win and get help to get in.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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