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ELIZABETHTOWN COLLEGE MEN'S BASKETBALL
Etown Defeats Clark, 94-90, in Sectional Championship, Blue Jays advance to Final Four for First Time
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The night was a clash of high-powered offenses, as Elizabethtown (28-2) outgunned Clark (23-6), 94-90, in the NCAA Division III Atlantic Sectional championship at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Saturday. With the win, Elizabethtown advances to the Final Four for the first time in the history of the school's men's basketball program. The NCAA Division III Final Four will be held in Salem, VA, March 15-16.
The game's first half quickly turned into a streaky run-and-gun spectacle. Rocky Parise (Harrisburg, PA/Bishop McDevitt) hit the game's opening shot, a three-pointer, for Elizabethtown at 19:22. Parise hit another three-pointer at 15:47 to give the Blue Jays a 12-7 lead. A Chad Heller (New Holland, PA/Garden Spot) layup at 15:25 extended Etown's advantage to 14-7 and forced Clark's first time out.
A Jon English (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddon Township) hook shot at 11:02 following his layup on the previous play stretched Etown's lead to 12 points, 24-12, and forced Clark's second time out. Heller hit a three-pointer to give Etown a 27-12 lead midway through the first half.
English scored on a layup at 8:43 following a Brian Loftus (Doylestown, PA/Central Bucks West) three pointer, giving Etown a 34-15 lead, the Blue Jays' largest lead of the game, and forcing Clark's third timeout of the first half. Three consecutive steals later, Clark had narrowed the gap to 34-21.
Clark's Trevor Walker (Milford, MA/Milford) scored on a layup at 5:02, cutting the Blue Jays' lead to 42-33, and another Clark layup at 4:43 forced Etown's first timeout with the score 42-35. Sean Fleming (Smithfield, RI/Worcester Twp.) hit a foul shot at 1:33, cutting Etown's lead to 43-38.
By the end of the first half, the score stood at 48-40 in Elizabethtown's favor. English amassed 15 points on seven-for-eight shooting in the first half for Etown. Walker scored 16 first half points for Clark and hit three three-pointers. Clark out-rebounded Elizabethtown 26-16 in the first half.
An English layup and free throw at 17:44 made the score 55-45 in Etown's favor. At 14:48, Fleming completed a four-point play to cut Etown's lead to 61-57.
Etown went up 72-61 at 11:55 on a Parise jumper. Clark came right back and cut the lead to 72-67 at 10:15 following a pair of three pointers. A Heller layup on a fast break from Parise at 9:30 gave Etown a 78-67 lead. Clark called a time out with the score unchanged at 9:09 following a Cougar offensive foul.
Brent Kenneway (Sturbridge, MA/Tantasqua) made a layup at 6:05 to cut Etown's lead to 80-77. By the time Clark called another timeout at 4:14, the score was 84-81 in Etown's favor. Walker hit a pair of foul shots at 1:14 to make the score 91-88 in favor of Etown. By 0:44, though, Etown's lead was cut to 91-90.
Parise hit a layup at 0:36, giving Etown a 93-90 lead. Ian Daecher (Lititz, PA/Warwick) was fouled at 0:18 and made one free throw, making the score 94-80. Clark failed to score in several opportunities in the closing seconds.
Bob Porambo (Bethlehem, PA/Liberty) scored 17 points and led Etown with 10 rebounds, and Heller scored 15. Daecher scored 10 points from off the bench.
Fleming led Clark with 29 points. Walker hit four three-pointers and scored 25 points. Dave McNamara was Clark's only other double-digit scorer, with 15 points.
Elizabethtown will face Rochester in Salem, Va. Friday, March 15.