The District 3-6A runner-up Hempfield Black Knights have beaten the District 4 champion Williamsport Millionaires 49-45 in the PIAA playoffs tonight in Pottsville, PA.
The difference maker? Free throws.
Williamsport was whistled for 27 fouls and Hempfield just nine in the second round Class 6A state tournament game at Martz Hall. Hempfield shot 38 free throws and Williamsport 11. And yet Williamsport nearly overcame it all.
Williamsport cut an eight-point deficit with 96 seconds remaining to two twice and had a chance to tie or take the lead in the closing seconds but two straight turnovers sealed the game for Hempfield who escaped with a 49-45 win and earned a quarterfinal matchup Saturday against Archbishop Ryan. The Millionaires (21-5) won 14 straight games entering Thursday, captured the program’s first district championship and nearly rallied against long odds they fought all night.
The Knights (21-9) will now play District 12 No. 3 seed Archbishop Ryan (22-5) in the state quarterfinal round. The last time they played in a quarterfinal was 2010.
While Ryan Moffatt (17 points) and Tyler Hilton (20) led the Black Knights in scoring, Hempfield’s controlling defense held Williamport to their lowest scoring total all season.
Hempfield 11 12 11 14 – 48
Wiliamsport 6 12 9 18 – 45
Hempfield: Hilton 20, Moffatt 17, Martin-Robinson 7, Karl 6 (Hilton and Moffatt combined for 21 points on the line
Three-pointers: Moffatt 1
Wiliamsport: Scott 23, Simmons 7, Ali 6, Wilson 6, Carson 3
Three-pointers: Wilson 2, Simmons 1