Beaver Falls guards set tone in win

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EDINBORO, Pa. -- Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega -- who is Italian -- sported a bright-green tie in honor of St. Patrick's Day for his team's game Saturday at Edinboro University. But the Tigers didn't need the luck of the Irish to advance to the PIAA semifinals. They simply relied on the skill on their guards.

Drew Cook and Elijah Cottrill combined for 33 points, and Beaver Falls fought off scrappy Lakeview, 56-44, in a PIAA Class AA quarterfinal at McComb Fieldhouse.

Beaver Falls (26-3), which finished as the PIAA runner-up a season ago, will play District 10 champion West Middlesex (25-3) Tuesday in the semifinals. The Tigers defeated West Middlesex, 50-41, in the season opener.

"Someone's year is going to start and end against the same team," Biega said.

Beaver Falls has leaned on its talented guards all season, and Saturday was no different. Cook, a senior, scored 19 points, and Cottrill, a junior, had 14. Cottrill was coming off a 27-point performance in a second-round win against Mercyhurst Prep.

"I think [the difference] was just having a veteran backcourt," said Biega. "It's big having Cottrill and Cook out there. We controlled the fourth quarter, when they had the ball in their hands."

Beaver Falls took a quick, 7-0 lead and never trailed. The Tigers led, 27-21, at halftime, and 35-31, after three quarters. Lakeview's Dalton Boggs made a 3-pointer with 3:22 left to make it 46-41.

Beaver Falls slowed down its offense, forcing Lakeview to foul. Cook and Cottrill each went 3 for 4 from the free-throw line in the final 1:36 to give the Tigers a 52-41 lead. After Lakeview's Casey Greggs made a 3-pointer, Cottrill threw down a dunk.

"We would get within a bucket or two, and then we would make some unforced errors," said Lakeview coach Larry Burke. "But you have to give Beaver Falls credit."

Boggs led Lakeview with 16 points and Greggs added 15.

Beaver Falls' Danny Stratton -- a 6-foot-2 junior who is listed as the team's lone forward -- also played a big role. Stratton scored 15 points, including six in a 10-0 run in the second quarter that extend a two-point lead to 12.

Beaver Falls has won 16 games in a row, all but one by double digits.



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