HOWLAND - Girard got off to a slow start in its Division III sectional semifinal game Monday against Berkshire, and the Badgers did not hesitate to take advantage.
Berkshire jumped out to a 17-2 lead in the first quarter, then used a 17-0 run in the second and third periods to take firm control and roll to a 71-49 victory.
"We knew that we wanted to make a statement here coming out," Berkshire coach Pete Moran said. "I thought our attitudes were there. The guys were very excited about getting the opportunity to come back here."
Tournament post-game interviews with both coaches
Girard coach Nolan Cubellis said his team did a pretty good job of defending the Badgers' best player.
"They just came out and hit a lot of shots," he said. "I thought our defensive intensity. ... we had guys covered, we were trying to keep it out of the big guy's (Tim Goff) hands down low. We did a pretty good job of that. The guys around him just hit a lot of shots."
After Berkshire got off to the quick start in the first quarter, the Indians fought back as best they could in the second. Craig Randall ended the first quarter with a 3-pointer to cut Girard's deficit to 20-7, then he scored seven points early in the second stanza. Zach Teter made a free throw and the Indians were within 25-17 with 4:25 left in the half. That was as close as they would get.
"We came down and we struggled offensively," Cubellis said. "Nothing was falling and before you knew it, it was a 10-point game."
Kyle Blair followed with a 3-pointer and was fouled by Jim Standohar. The subsequent free throw completed the four-point play and the 6-foot-7 senior Goff followed with an emphatic dunk for a 31-19 advantage.
Girard (9-12) got within 34-24 on a 3-pointer by Standohar, but the Badgers went on their 17-0 spurt to dash any hopes the Indians had of victory.
"They were able to knock down a few shots," Moran said. "We held them to (24 points) in the first half, which is pretty good. I would venture to say that most schools would accept only giving up only (24) points. I thought collectively our defensive effort was fantastic."
Goff scored with 5.2 seconds left in the half for a 37-24 lead, then he added six more points later in the run. Travis Smetena hit a 3-pointer as well during that stretch.
"Everybody knows what Tim Goff is and who he is," Moran said. "It was good to see the other guys - Travis Smetena, Tim Ludlow, Kyle Blair - all our guys step up and contribute. When we play our best it's when all our guys are contributing."
The biggest highlight for Girard in the second half was Evan Standohar's reverse layup and free throw with 48.0 seconds remaining in the third. The Indians trailed 57-32 at that point.
Goff led all scorers with 17 points. Blair and Tim Ludlow had 14 each and Smetena scored 12. Randall topped Girard with 12.
Berkshire (15-6) advances to play Brookfield in a sectional final Wednesday at 6 p.m.
"They're big; the big football players," Moran said. "They do a lot of high-low action. Their bigs work very well together. We've got our hands full. We've got to be physical and play at our pace. I know it's going to be a dogfight. They're very well coached. We'll see what happens."