Spartans top Troy in D4 AAA quarterfinals
HUGHESVILLE — He constantly works hard and has made enormous strides throughout his debut season. So when his biggest opportunity yet approached Thursday night, Hughesville freshman Dylan Bieber was prepared.
And it took just 3 minutes, 39 seconds for Bieber to create a lasting playoff memory while playing in his first postseason game.
Bieber erupted from outside, draining four straight 3-pointers bridging the third and fourth quarters and ignting the game-changing run which helped Hughesville break open a close game and defeat Troy, 64-46, in the District 4 Class AAA quarterfinals. Bieber scored a team-high 15 points, making five 3-pointers, Justus Leighow and Ethan Snyder played super all-around games and the defense smothered Troy over the final nine minutes as Hughesville (17-6) earned a spot in next week’s semifinals.
“I was coming in a bit nervous, but once I made my first shot I felt a lot better. I was feeling good. I was really enjoying it,” Bieber said of playing in front of a huge crowd. “On the defensive end we were good and on the offensive end we were solid and making shots and it just got everyone going.”
Hughesville is semifinal bound for the fourth time in five years and will play the winner of tonight’s North Penn-Mansfield-Loyalsock game in the semifinals. Blake Sherwood (8 points, 7 rebounds) and Nick Trevouledes (9 points) came up big in the fourth quarter as did several other players, but it was Bieber’s Larry Bird-esque shooting which altered the game.
The Spartans erased a nine-point late second-quarter deficit and took a three-point halftime lead, but Troy (14-11) led 34-31 with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Then Bieber hit a game-tying 3-pointer. Then he hit a go-ahead 3-pointer. He put Hughesville ahead to stay with another 3-pointer and assisted fellow freshman Josh Heiney on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer as Hughesville took a 47-40 lead into the fourth quarter.
Picking up where he left off in the third, Bieber opened the fourth quarter with his final 3-pointer as Hughesville went up 10. Troy briefly pulled within single digits just once more and Hughesville closed the game on a 24-6 run, making 10 of its final 13 shots. It was the latest example of Bieber elevating his performance at a key time in a season when injuries and illness could have derailed Hughesville multiple times.
“I felt like I needed to step up when other guys have been injured,” Bieber said. “I’ve known I had to step up on both offense and defense.”
“This week at practice we had a couple conversations about continuing to be aggressive and move on the perimeter and look for your spots. Obviously, he’s been a factor all year and what he did tonight was not a surprise to me in any way,” Hughesville coach Nick Tagliaferri said. “He’s done that several times this year.”
Hughesville was playing without starting guard Clayton Poust, but has become accustomed at overcoming adversity and did so again last night while bottling up Troy over the final nine minutes. The Spartans surrendered just one field goal over that span and really took off midway through the third after Tagliaferri called a timeout and challenged his players.
The Spartans turned words into action and swarmed Troy the rest of the way. Explosive sophomore Ty Barrett scored a game-high 21 points for Troy, but Leighow, Trevouledes and Steele Evangelisti all took turns blanketing him and let him score just three more points on four shots following that timeout.
“Defense is is the main thing we are proud of,” Leighow said. “We want to make sure we go out and play defense to the best of our abilities.”
While Bieber helped Hughesville win the game with his shooting, Leighow and Snyder took turns keeping Hughesville in it during the first half. Two of the area’s more multi-faceted players, both Leighow and Snyder can defend all five positions. It was their all-around play and hustle which helped the Spartans close the half on a 12-0 run and take a three-point halftime lead.
Leighow finished with 13 points, five steals and three assists, making four first-half steals. Snyder, a senior forward who never played basketball before his sophomore season, was relentless on the offensive glass and had six of his seven rebounds in the first half. He also added three assists and two steals and had a hand in 10 first-half points when he played a major role in preventing Troy from building a double-digit lead.
“I can’t say enough about Ethan. He started playing basketball in 10th grade and literally had no idea what he was doing. He’s a great example of a guy who sticks with the program and doesn’t get frustrated. He’s been a rock for us all year,” Tagliaferri said. “His effort and his versatility are huge. For a kid to come that far in three years and change the game the way he does is amazing. He’s been a huge part of this team.”
Sherwood settled in during the second half and drained a key 3-pointer which put Hughesville up three late in the third quarter. He, Snyder and Leighow all could have been playing their final high school games last night and all three delivered big performances. It was a good mix for Hughesville which also received lifts from three freshmen as well as Trevouledes, a sophomore.
“All of us seniors talked about how we’ve worked so hard over the offseason so we had to go out and there and play like we can. You have to play like it could be your last game,” Leighow said. “You make sure that if it’s your last game you play as hard as you could and as best you can.”
Hughesville 64, Troy 46
Ty Barrett 8 2-4 21, Mason Imbt 3 5-7 11, Ethan VanNoy 1 0-0 2, Nick Williams 2 1-2 7, Robert Rogers 0 5-6 5, Dominick Ayres 0 0-0 0, Zeb Olroyd 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 13-21 46.
Blake Sherwood 3 1-2 8, Nick Trevouledes 3 2-4 9, Justus Leighow 4 5-8 13, Steele Evangelisti 2 0-1 5, Carter Cowburn 1 0-0 2, Ethan Snyder 2 1-2 5, Dylan Bieber 5 0-0 15, Anthony Machi 1 0-0 2, Josh Heiney 1 0-3 3, Cam Fetterman 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 9-20 64.
Troy 15 9 16 6 — 46
Hughesville 11 16 20 17 — 64
3-point goals: Troy 5 (Barrett 3, Williams 2), Hughesville 9 (Bieber 5, Sherwood 1, Trevouledes 1, Evangelisti 1, Heiney 1).
Records: Hughesville (17-6), Troy (14-11).