C-L Wins Fifth KSAC Boys’ Title in Last Six Years

| February 17, 2019

CLARION, Pa. (D9Sports) – Clarion-Limestone built a 22-point second-half lead and then held off a furious Keystone rally to claim its second straight KSAC Title and its fifth in six years with a 57-52 win over the Panthers in the KSAC Boys’ Championship Game Saturday night at a packed Clarion High School.

“It’s special to keep winning,” C-L head coach Joe Ferguson said. “Honestly, I don’t know what to say. We have such a good rapport with everyone in the KSAC. It’s fun to compete. You hate to see anyone lose, especially when it is that tight.”

Tight wasn’t a word that came to mind when Hayden Callen, who was named the game’s MVP and the Hager Paving Player of the Game after scoring 18 points, including 12 in the second half, scored his fifth straight point to start the second half just 44 seconds into the third quarter giving C-L a 38-16 lead.

“We just kept pushing the ball and playing really good defense,” Hayden Callen said of the fast start by the Lions. Our hands were out and everyone was talking. The flow of the game was just going our way.”

But a funny thing happened on the way to a C-L blowout, Keystone found its legs.

The Panthers answered the two baskets by Callen with a 12-1 run that featured a traditional 3-point play from Andrew Lauer and 3-pointers from Luke Hurrelbrink and Dawson Steele to close within 11, 37-28, with 4:01 left in the third quarter.

Keystone was taking advantage of the fact that Ian Callen, the Lions all-around stellar senior and Hayden’s older brother, picked up his third and fourth fouls in a span of 23 seconds, the fourth one coming with 6:28 to play in the third, and had to come out of the game.

“(Up to that point) I was extremely happy,” Ferguson said. “I said to the coaches at halftime, that is probably the best half of basketball we have played. We started out ok. But when Ian got into foul trouble, they started to attack inside. They started getting some easier hoops because we weren’t communicating down there. Then, guys were dropping, and they were able to kick out and they started knocking the shots down. They buried shots. So now we are caught in the middle. How do we do this? We didn’t want to go man (defense). We were trying to stay away from man because they are so quick.”

C-L seemed to stop the bleeding in the final 3:43 of the third quarter thanks to three points from Hayden Callen, two from Deion Deas – who went from being out for the season with a broken ankle to getting cleared to play Thursday and scoring his 1,000th career point during the second quarter – and a key offensive rebound and putback by Curven Goheen with just under a second to play in the quarter. That spurt pushed the C-L lead back to 17, 46-29, going to the fourth quarter.

But Keystone kept pushing.

Brooks LaVan started the final eight minutes with a 3-pointer, one of six second-half long balls from the Panthers, and Troy Johnson added a basket inside to cut the deficit back to 12, 46-34, with 7:17 to play.

An old-school 3-point play by Goheen, who finished with 11 points and four rebounds off the bench, pushed the lead back to 15, 49-34, with just 7:01 to play.

But again Keystone answered going on a 15-4 run over the next 4:15 to close the gap all the way to four points, 53-49, on a 3-pointer by Isaak Jones with 2:35 to play.

Deas, who finished with 16 points, answered with a floater to make it 55-49 with 1:39 left, but Jones hit another triple seconds later to cut the C-L lead to three, 55-52.

“We were just glad to squeak it out the way they were shooting in the second half,” Ferguson said.

Following a timeout by the Lions with just over a minute to play, the strategy seemed to be to make Keystone foul. But Deas saw an opening and tried for a basket that wouldn’t fall, and Keystone called timeout with 38.2 to play.

Ian Callen, who had been back in the game since the 3:17 mark of the fourth quarter, then came up with the first of two big steals down the stretch.

But again the Lions rushed a shot, this time Ayden Wiles missed, and Keystone had another chance to tie the game.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t disciplined,” Ferguson said. “We were taking shots we shouldn’t have been taking.”

Dawson Steele, however, fumbled the ball in the corner trying to catch it and was called for a walk with 15.8 seconds to play.

All looked good for the Lions, as they were inbounding the ball. But Ian Callen misfired on the inbounds pass and it went out of bounds giving Keystone another chance.

The Panthers, though, settled for a tough 3-pointer attempt by Johnson with 10 seconds left that was off the mark, and Ian Callen was fouled.

“What we talked about in the timeout, we had two fouls to give,” Ferguson said. “We didn’t even want them to get a shot off. But, again, we didn’t get out there to foul them quick enough. Don’t even let them get the shot off, especially on a 3-point shot (was the plan). The game plan, don’t let them get a shot. However, they did get a shot off.”

The senior, Callen, however, missed the free throw, and Steele collected the rebound. But Ian Callen made up for the miscue when he stole the ball and was fouled again this time hitting both charity shots with 4.9 seconds left to seal the win.

“I wasn’t even looking,” Hayden Callen said of his brother’s game-clinching steal. “I had Isaak Jones locked down. I had no eyes on anything else. I turned around, and my brother had the ball and I was clapping.”

Watch all of Hayden Callen’s postgame thoughts.

Ian Callen’s steal happened right in front of the C-L bench.

“Excitement, because it happened right in front of me,” Ferguson said. “Whenever he missed that and got that steal, it was like, yes! The emotions were very high at the end.”

Deas chipped in a team-best seven rebounds to go with his 16 points, while Ian Callen had eight points, four rebounds and three steals for the Lions. Julian Laugand had a team-best six swipes and added four points and four rebounds.

Jones had 14 points to lead Keystone with Johnson adding 11 points and nine rebounds, Lauer nine points and nine rebounds, LaVan nine points and Steele three points and nine boards.

Both teams advance to the District 9 playoffs.

C-L is the third seed in the Class 1A bracket and will play Otto-Eldred at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at Elk County Catholic High School.

Keystone is the third seed in the Class 2A bracket and will play Smethport at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, at Kane High School.

Rewatch the game.


Score by Quarters

Clar.-Lime. 15 18 13 11 – 57
Keystone 6 10 13 23 – 52


Deion Deas 7 1-2 16, Julian Laugand 1 1-2 4, Ayden Wiles 0 0-0 0, Ian Callen 3 2-3 8, Curven Goheen 5 1-1 11, Hayden Callen 6 3-4 18, Mitch Knapp 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 8-12 57.


Troy Johnson 4 3-7 11, Max Thompson 0 0-0 0, Luke Hurrelbrink 1 0-0 3, Isaak Jones 5 1-2 14, Alex Rapp 1 0-0 3, Dawson Steele 1 0-0 3, Andrew Lauer 4 1-1 9, Conner Exley 0 0-0 0, Brandan Kapp 0 0-0 0, Brooks LaVan 3 0-0 9.

Three-pointers: C-L 5 (Hayden Callen 3, Deas, Laugand). Keystone 9 (Jones 3, LaVan 3, Hurrelbrink, Rapp, Steele).

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