The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

February 26, 2014

Men's basketball: Sellinger lifts Crusaders past Catholic in Landmark semifinals

SELINSGROVE — Harley Sellinger capped his home career with a double-double, but it was a play that may not register in the box score that allowed him to don the orange and maroon another time.

With Susquehanna ahead by a point with five seconds left on the clock and Catholic looking for a win, Sellinger collapsed on the Cardinals’ Bryson Fonville, knocking the ball away.

With both arms wrapped around the ball as if he was in a bear hug, Sellinger was fouled and calmly drilled a pair at the line.

The Crusaders held on for a 69-66 victory in the Landmark semifinals inside a raucous O.W. Houts Gymnasium on Wednesday.

“We wanted this game so badly,” Sellinger said. “This was our game to win. We really want to prove ourselves this year.”

The victory that sends the Crusaders (17-9) to Scranton to play for the Landmark Conference title Saturday was potentially in doubt in the final seconds.

Catholic (14-12) caused a turnover on Susquehanna’s final possession, taking the ball up the floor for a final shot.

But the Cardinals never had an opportunity to release that final shot.

With Sellinger’s 6-foot-6 frame smothering the basketball, the Cardinals fouled the Susquehanna senior with 1.2 seconds on the clock.

Sellinger’s clutch play was not over with his steal, however, as he swatted away the ensuing Catholic inbounds pass.

Catholic turned the ball over on a second try and the Crusaders escaped with a victory.

“It feels amazing to make it (to the Landmark final),” Sellinger said. “Being a senior, (this) being my last year, I want to just go as far as possible. I don’t want to stop playing right now.”

Sellinger led the Crusaders with 19 points and 20 rebounds, for a team that connected on shots at opportune times down the stretch to stay in front.

“19 and 20. That’s a phenomenal night,” Susquehanna coach Frank Marcinek said regarding Sellinger’s performance.

Sellinger, who is averaging a double-double this season with 14.5 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game, pulled down 20 of the Crusaders’ 34 rebounds against the Cardinals.

The Crusaders trailed by a bucket at the half, 30-28, but immediately turned the tide in the second half, with Sellinger and Steven Weidlich kick-starting a 17-2 Susquehanna run to open the half.

“At this point, it’s win or go home and nobody wants to go home,” Weidlich said. “We want that (championship) ring.”

Sellinger tied the game with a lay-up and found Weidlich open in the corner to bury a 3-pointer to give the Crusaders a 33-30 lead.

Weidlich helped to spark the Crusaders’ offense, scoring 14 of his 17 points in the second half, including four of his five 3-pointers.

“We started playing better as a team (in the second half). Got the ball moving,” Weidlich said. “I was able to make a play.”

The Crusaders extended their lead to as much as 16 points, 50-34, on the strength of a Weidlich 3-pointer and a jumper from Jake Eskin.

“We had a combination of drives to the basket,” Marcinek said. “We scored from all different areas, which is when we’re at our best.”

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