MIFFLINBURG?- Lewisburg coach John Vaji had one message for Travis Conrad as the Green Dragons prepared to enter the postseason - be more aggressive.
In an effort to be more aggressive, Conrad played a solid game on both sides of the floor, connecting with shots to stop Danville runs and holding Zach Kozick to just eight points.
Conrad's effort to be more aggressive gave him 18 points and helped Lewisburg defeat Danville, 61-56, to advance to the Heartland Athletic Conference final. Lewisburg will meet league rival Loyalsock for a third time Saturday at Williamsport High School.
"It was just a good overall performance," Vaji said. "He got aggressive and took some shots. He stepped up. Kozick was averaging in double figures for Danville (18-3) and Travis, who was matched up with him the whole game, held him to eight points."
Along with his shutdown defense, Conrad also put together a stretch of seven consecutive points for Lewisburg. He also always seemed to be there to provide a big shot.
"Coach pulled me aside and told me it was my senior postseason and I had to be more aggressive when it came to this," Conrad said. "He told me not to hesitate and that if I got on a run the team could ride me."
And that's certainly what happened as Danville attempted its comeback at the start of the fourth quarter.
Brett Berg, who finished with a game-high 28 points, scorched the Green Dragons in the fourth, scoring 15 points. Berg's surge was matched by Conrad, who scored the first seven points of the quarter for Lewisburg.
"Berg had 28, but he had to earn every one of those points," Vaji said. "It was just a very good team effort and team win."
Conrad responded with two timely three-pointers to keep Lewisburg's lead at five points. The baskets also crushed any momentum gained from Berg's efforts.
Conrad also broke open a 20-all tie in the second quarter with a long three that sparked an 11-0 run through the second and third quarters. It proved to be the difference as Lewisburg (21-2) held the lead for the remainder of the game.
"When teams try to get runs on us it can really hurt," Conrad said. "Responding back with points is one way of stopping it. Our favorite way, though, is shutting them down on defense."
Danville only connected on nine of its 21 attempts in the first half. And besides Berg, who attempted 17 shots in the second half, Danville only made six field goals over the final two quarters.
Mike Driscoll stepped up in a big way for Lewisburg, scoring eight of its 12 third-quarter points and extending the first half run to 11.
"It was all confidence with him," Vaji said of Driscoll. "He came out tonight and got into a rhythm. If he had an open look he didn't think about it, he just knocked it down."
Driscoll, who guarded Berg for most of the second half, finished with 15 points and six boards.
"Some of their guys got hot, but we were able to come down and hit some shots to break their runs," Driscoll said. "It took their momentum away and really gave us a lift."
Jesse Flannery 2 3-4 8; Erich Kline 6 0-1 12; Drew Newcomb 0 0-0 0; Will Sigl 0 0-0 0; Matt Fedorajka 0 0-0 0; Travis Conrad 6 4-5 18; Nick Costagliola 0 0-0 0; Mike Driscoll 6 0-0 15; Sam Allen 3 2-3 8; Daniel Cole 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 9-13 61
Bret Berg 10 6-7 28; Scotty Heeter 3 0-0 6; Robbie Koons 2 1-2 5; Matt McConnell 2 0-0 6; Zach Kozick 4 0-0 8; Austin Renz 1 0-0 3. Totals 21 7-9 56.
Lewisburg 14 13 12 22-61
Danville 10 10 11 25-56
3-point goals: Lewisburg 5 (Flannery, Conrad, Driscoll 3). Danville 5 (McConnell 2, Berg 2, Renz).
Records: Danville 18-3. Lewisburg 21-2.
Next: Danville at Williamsport, Friday, 7:30 p.m. Lewisburg vs. Loyalsock, at Williamsport, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.