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Karns City Boys Win First KSAC Title Game; Gremlins Take Home Conference Crown for First Time in 22 Years

Photo by Chris Rossetti

CLARION, Pa. – For Karns City’s Luke Cramer the outcome of the KSAC boys’ basketball title game was something that had been gnawing at him for a year.

A year ago, Cramer missed the entire basketball season after suffering a knee injury in football, and he had to watch as the Gremlin lost in the KSAC championship game to Clarion-Limestone.

Fast forward 12 months, and Cramer played a key role in Karns City winning its first-ever KSAC Title game with a 64-48 win over C-L. It is the Gremlins’ first KSAC title since winning back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2022 when current C-L head coach Patrick Craig was one of the key players for KC.

“It feels great,” Cramer, who scored 11 points, said. “I had to watch them lose last year, and it felt like a gut punch not being able to be out there and help them. So, to come back and get a win in a rematch just feels great.”

Karns City grabbed control early and never really felt threatened in a game that was as physical as a football contest with 47 fouls and 56 free throws.


The Gremlins were the main beneficiary of how close the game was being called with C-L racking up 32 fouls and having four players foul out of the game. That led to Karns City shooting 37 free throws, 24 of which they made.

“We are a physical team,” Cramer said. “We like to push the pace, and we like to bang down low. The refs did a great job calling tonight and made good calls. That is the basketball we like to play.”

Karns City started the game on a 10-2 run and led 17-7 at the end of the first quarter before building the lead to as many as 20, 31-11, on a Taite Beighley 3-pointer with just under three minutes to play in the opening half.

“That’s huge in these games (to get the lead),” Cramer said. “It is a bigger court. We are not all used to it. To be able to get the lead and spread the court on the big court and cost is very nice.”

Watch all of Cramer’s Cole Orthodontic Associates Postgame Interview


C-L was able to get back within 13, 34-21, by the end of the half but the Gremlin lead grew to 22, 49-27, late in the third quarter before standing at 21, 49-28, going to the final eight minutes.

That is when the Lions made a little bit of a push going on 13-1 run to get within nine, 50-41, on a Paul Craig deep jumper with 4:33 to play.

But the foul trouble had piled up on C-L by that time with both Jase Ferguson and Jack Callen having fouled out of the game – Paul Craig and Ty Rankin would follow them to the bench – and Karns City went 10 of 14 from the line to put the game away.

Beighley, who scored eight first-quarter points, led Karns City with 21 points while Jacob Callihan, who went 13 of 17 from the free-throw line, added 17 points.

Jack Craig paced C-L with 10 points with Ferguson adding nine and Callen eight.

Both teams will advance to the District 9 Class 2A playoffs.

Karns City is the third seed and will host Cranberry on Friday, Feb. 23, while C-L is the fourth seed and will host Ridgway the same night.

NOTES: C-L was looking for its eighth KSAC title game win in its 11th appearance. The Lions have been in nine of the last 10 KSAC Championship games with their only other two losses coming to Keystone in 2017 and Keystone in 2020 … Karns City had been 0-2 in KSAC Championship games also losing to C-L in 2018.


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