WILLIAMSPORT — Seeger won the little moments and that added up to a big win as they defeated Fountain Central 52-44 in the semifinals of the Bi-County Holiday Tournament.
The win moves the Patriots to 4-4 on the season and into the championship game of the tourney tonight, at home, against Covington, who defeated Attica.
The Mustangs fall to 3-7 on the season.
FC had a bit of an upper hand in the first half, but foul trouble turned into more than they could handle, as Seeger made a living at the line.
“We’ve got a young group that needs to stop losing before they start winning,” Mustangs coach Phil Shabi said. “We made too many controllable errors.”
Six lead changes in the first half was capped by a late FC run that gave them a 23-22, lead, but the Patriots got the upper hand in the second. The 10 turnovers that became 11 Mustangs points reversed into a 6-1 points off turnovers margin in the second.
Seeger also cashed in at the line, out-scoring FC by eight points.
Down five, the Patriots eventually took a 36-33 lead into the fourth quarter and never looked back.
They also looked to their big men for the win.
Owen Snedeker scored 10 of this 12 points in the fourth quarter. The freshman also grabbed 11 rebounds to finish his double-double.
“Snedeker took over,” Shabi said. “We were like a fighter wanting to cover and win by decision, but he decided he wanted to win. He was the deciding factor.”
Kolton Pearson was the other Patriot leading the way in the fourth. The junior forward scored eight of his 14 points in the second half and grabbed nine boards.
“We made a lot of good plays,” Shabi said. “We had a lot of guys step up, but when the game was on the line, we looked like a young team.”
The Mustangs got 12 points from Andrew Shabi, who was seeing action for the first time this season due to an ankle injury. The junior also handed out a short handful of assists.
“He gave us a big lift,” coach and dad Shabi noted, “and Colton Robinson had his best game of the year.”
Robinson finished with a team-best 17 points.
Foul trouble also hampered the Mustangs for much of the game. Shabi, Cody Linville and Carson Eberly, all guards, found bench time in the first half, and then more idle minutes in the second.
Linville picked up his third foul early in the third, and with the guard out, Seeger started their run. Shabi, Linville and Duncan would all foul out, which helped lead to Seeger’s plus-eight made free throws.
“We made so many fouls,” Shabi said. “We had them in the bonus early and then with guys on the bench we got into a little fatigue trouble. Our bench is short so we couldn’t afford to foul. It really impacted the game.”
For the game, FC was 14-of-42 from the field, and 7-of-25 from 3-point range. They were 9-of-20 from the line. Linville and Carter Merryman each had six rebounds to lead the team. They finished with 11 turnovers, with only three in the first half.
The Patriots were 16-of-41 from the field, 3-of-9 from deep and 17-of-30 from the stripe. Then had 15 turnovers.
“We have to win the little moments in every game,” Shabi said. “We are young, and our bench is still short. We have to keep working and get after those little things.”
The Mustangs will take on Attica this afternoon in the consolation bracket, and the Patriots will look to win their ninth Bi-County title, and first in four years, when they play Covington tonight. The Trojans will be playing for their 28th championship.
SEEGER 52 FOUNTAIN CENTRAL 44
FOUNTAIN CENTRAL 10 13 10 11 — 44
SEEGER 11 11 14 16 — 52
Fountain Central (3-7): Shabi 4-11 1-3 12, Eberly 0-7 5-6 5, Linville 2-6 0-0 4, Robinson 5-10 3-6 17, Merryman 1-4 0-2 2, Kirkpatrick 1-1 0-1 2, Duncan 1-3 0-2 2, Otero 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-42 9-20 44.
Seeger (4-4): Drake 2-2 0-0 5, Gates 3-5 2-5 8, Sprague 1-7 0-0 2, Pearson 4-8 6-10 14, Snedeker 4-10 3-7 12, McFatridge 1-3 1-2 4, Greene 1-5 3-4 6, Lafoon 0-0 2-2 2, Smith 0-0 0-0. Totals 16-41 17-30 52.
3-Point Shooting: Fountain Central 7-25 (Shabi 3-9, Eberly 0-2. Linville 0-3, Robinson 4-9, Merryman 0-2); Seeger 3-9 (Drake 1-1, Sprague 0-4, Greene 1-1, McFatridge 0-1, Snedeker 1-2).
Rebounds: FC 35 (Linville 6, Merryman 6, Duncan 5); Seeger 42 (Snedeker 11, Pearson 9, Gates 7).
Turnovers: FC 11; Seeger 15.