Friday, March 09, 2001

Purcell Marian on to regionals

Cavaliers stop Dayton Col. White in district final

By Carey Hoffman
Enquirer contributor

        DAYTON — Purcell Marian didn't beat Dayton Colonel White Thursday night — the Cavaliers unraveled it.

        The Cavs deconstructed a Colonel White team that often resembled an offensive machine in the first half, outscoring the Cougars 34-21 in the second half for a 59-53 victory in a Division II district championship game at University of Dayton Arena.

        Purcell (16-8), last season's Division II state runnerup, advances to the regional semifinals, where the Cavs meet Greater Catholic League rival Kettering Alter at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Wright State.

        Alter won both regular season meetings with Purcell.

        Keith Jackson scored 18 points to lead Purcell Thursday, while Tony Fulks added 14 points. But much of the credit for the second- half surge belonged to contribu tions from the Cavs' supporting cast.

        Freshman point guard Billy Finnell and senior forward Jerald Cooper helped slow down Colonel White stars Darrell Daugherty and Steve Wright in the second half. Wright had 14 first-half points to lead the Cougars to a 32-25 halftime edge.

        “We went in at halftime and we weren't playing very hard, and we weren't playing very smart,” Purcell Marian coach Mike Gergen said. “We weren't close to anything we had prepared for the last three days. I told them: "You've given yourself an opportunity by playing your best game last Saturday against McNicholas. Now what are you doing (tonight)?'”

        Purcell responded by picking up its intensity right after halftime. The Cavs steadily cut into Colonel White's lead, making it a one-possession game by late in the quarter.

        With 45 seconds left in the third, Jackson hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 41-41. After a Colonel White free throw, Fulks hit a 12-foot jumper with 12 seconds left in the quarter to give Purcell its first lead.

        Purcell never lost the lead the rest of the way, despite never building its margin larger than the final edge of six points.

        Junior forward Mike Pilgrim came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring all six of his points. He also had four blocks in the second half.

        “We just had to play hard and play smart,” said Jackson of the second-half turnaround. “We had too many dumb turnovers and lapses in the first half. We had to get our momentum going, and once it was going, everything else fell into place.”

        “It wasn't a matter of strategy,” Gergen said. “Our kids just stepped it up and started playing hard.”

        Purcell shot 57.5 percent from the field in the game, including 68.8 percent in the second half. That helped make up for 21 Purcell turnovers.

        Wright finished with 24 points to lead Colonel White, the champions of the Dayton public school league.

        With Purcell in the field, it gives three of the four Division II regional spots to teams from the Greater Catholic League North Division. That marks the seventh time in 10 seasons the regional has had at least three GCL North qualifiers.

        COLONEL WHITE (53) - Mills 0 2 2, Wright 10 0 24, Daugherty 5 1 11, McClure 3 4 10, Harrison 1 0 2, Hines 1 0 2, Pogue 1 0 2. Totals: 21-52 7-11 53.

        PURCELL MARIAN (59) - Fulks 7 0 14, Elliott 1 0 2, Jackson 6 5 18, Calloway 3 0 6, Reid 2 0 4, Cooper 1 7 9, Pilgrim 3 0 6. Totals: 23-40 12-16 59. Colonel White 14-18-10-11-53 Purcell Marian 10-15-18-16-59

        3-point goals: CW (4-11) - Wright 4; PM (1-3) - Jackson. Records: P 16-8, CW 17-5.

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