FAIRVIEW, Pa. – The third time proved to be the charm for the Warren Dragons.
After losing to Fairview twice in the regular season, the No. 5 seed Dragons got the best of the fourth-seeded Tigers, 46-40 in the D10 Class 4A quarterfinals on Friday at Fairview High School
“We wanted to set a tone,” said senior Ben Berdine. “We came out, we played hard, we got the lead and we kept it.”
2021 Basketball Playoff coverage on D9and10Sports.com is provided in part by Olewine Financial Group, Fran Morelli Sales & Service, Morelli’s Family Restaurant, Computer Support, Allegheny Grille of Foxburg, Oil Country Crates, Simpson Excavating (814-379-3346, Mike’s Bilo Foods Reynoldsville, BGM Custom Wear by Brookville Glove
The Tigers didn’t just beat the Dragons twice, they did so decisively by margins of 23 and 31 points.
“I thought we had some confidence because we knew in watching the film that we did not play well against them either time,” said Warren coach Jeff Berdine. “They took us out of what we wanted to do offensively. And we changed what we did offensively for this game.”
Warren (17-5) led by as many as 10 in the fourth quarter after a Payton Barnes free throw with 2:36 to play, only to watch the Tigers cut it to two, 42-40 on a Jeremy Frazao triple with 52.6 seconds to go.
Ben Berdine was fouled on the ensuing possession and calmly knocked down a pair of free throws.
After the Tigers (14-8) missed a 3 on the other end, freshman Tommy Nyquist, who was brilliant in the second half, was fouled with 20.7 seconds remaining and knocked down two more from the charity stripe to seal the game.
“We just kept our composure,” Nyquist said. “Parks (Ordiway) hit a lot of big shots, Ben hit some big shots, Payton hit some big shots and everybody did their part.”
Warren never trailed in the game and led by six, 21-15 at halftime, but Fairview, as good teams do, responded.
The Tigers twice tied it in the third quarter, first on a layup by Tyler Shultz at 22 and again on a James Sitter old-fashioned 3-point play.
Each time, the Dragons’ young guards had an answer. First, it was Ordiway hitting a 3, then it was Nyquist’s turn to connect from distance.
“I thought they grew up some tonight,” Berdine said of Ordiway, a sophomore, and Nyquist.
Ordiway, who knocked down four 3’s on his way to a game-high 16 points, talked about the win afterward.
“If teams are making shots, you can’t get rattled,” Ben Berdine said. “You have to stay with it. They made a couple of shots, but then we made some shots and we got stops.”
The Dragons’ zone defense limited Fairview’s offense early in the game, and Barnes and Ordiway were hot from the outside, with a Barnes 3 giving Warren its biggest lead of the half, 20-13 late in the second quarter off a nice find from JT Blum.
“They try really hard to get the ball inside and we were able to take that away from them tonight,” coach Berdine said. “I thought in the second half we did a much better job on the glass because they’re such a good rebounding team.”
Added Nyquist: “We started out in 2-3 zone and offensively we hit a lot of shots. We ran our offense well, penetrated and shot the ball well as a group.”
Barnes, a senior who missed a good bit of the regular season after suffering a shoulder injury against Oil City, has been stellar since coming back, something that isn’t lost on his coach.
“Payton coming back is a huge lift to us, a huge shot in the arm,” coach Berdine said. “Having him come back, his leadership, his confidence is huge.”
The Tigers started the second half on a 7-1 run that allowed them to tie the game before Ordiway and Nyquist knocked down their 3s.
Shultz cut the deficit back to one with his putback late in the third, but Nyquist countered with another triple and hit 1-of-2 from the free-throw line to stretch the lead back to five, 32-27 going into the fourth.
Shultz scored five of his team-high 13 points in the third quarter, while Logan Frazao finished with nine and Sitter eight for the Tigers.
Berdine had seven rebounds to go along with his 10 points and Nyquist and Barnes finished with nine points each for the Dragons.
Warren advances to play at top seed Hickory in the semifinals on Tuesday. The Hornets, who beat the Dragons in the semifinals a season ago, topped No. 8 seed Fort LeBoeuf 44-33.
Parks Ordiway 6-0-0-16, Ben Berdine 3-4-8-10, Tommy Nyquist 2-3-6-9, JT Blum 1-0-2-2, Payton Barnes 3-1-2-9, Bryce Blair 0-0-0-0, Totals 15-8-18-46
Logan Frazao 4-1-3-9, Jeremy Frazao 2-0-0-5, James Sitter 3-1-1-8, Tyler Shultz 6-1-2-13, Harry Murphey 1-0-0-3, Zach Scott 0-0-0-0, Preston King 0-0-0-0, Zach Franos 1-0-0-2, Totals 17-3-6-40
Warren 10 11 11 14 – 46
Fairview 6 9 12 13 – 40
Three-point FGs: Warren (8) – Ordiway 4, Nyquist 2, Barnes 2; Fairview (3) – Sitter, J. Frazao, Murphey