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Top 25 Countdown 2021

Top 25 Countdown No. 6: Brookville Mine(r)s its Way to Hershey

Griffin Ruhlman (No. 23) and Jamison Rhoades (No. 20) celebrate following Brookville's PIAA semifinal win. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa's work here is counting down what we believe are the Top 25 moments/games/performances of the 2020-21 high school sports season in District 9 and District 10.

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No. 6: Brookville’s Magical Run to PIAA Hoop Championship Game

Going into the 2021 PIAA Class 3A basketball playoffs, Brookville figured it had a talented team that could win a game or two along the way.

But a trip to Hershey? To the PIAA Championship game? That was only a dream considering District 9 had seen exactly three teams in the 21st century reach the title game and none in a classification higher than Class 1A.

And any dreaming was nearly derailed before it even got started.

Then the planets aligned, big plays were made, and clutch moments were had.

Down 10, 41-31, at home in a subregional with 1:53 to play in the third quarter (9:53 in the game) a technical foul on the Raiders turned the game around.

But while the Lions were shooting the extra shots, Brookville head coach Dalton Park brought to the attention of the officials that a Chestnut Ridge player had illegally entered the game. That led to the Raiders technical shooting free throws of their own, and the momentum swung.

Brookville went on an 11-0 spurt to take the lead thanks to 10 straight points from Jace Miner. That run was part of a bigger 24-6 run by the Raiders that led to a 68-58 win.

Miner, the Raiders flame-throwing, left-handed baseball star who is on his way to Wichita State on a baseball scholarship, continued to show his brilliance in Brookville’s opening PIAA game in the quarterfinals at WPIAL champion Ellwood City.

Brookville led by four, 45-41, late in the third quarter, and 49-47, early in the fourth before Ellwood City hit a 3-pointer to take a 50-49 lead with just under six minutes to play.

The Raiders fought back and led 59-56 on a Miner layup with 1:55 to go before the Wolverines went on a 4-0 spurt to take a 60-59 lead with a minute left.

Enter Miner, who hit the game-tying free throw with 50.9 seconds left.

A turnover by Ellwood City gave Brookville the ball with 25.5 seconds to play, but the Raiders gave it right back in front of the Raiders bench with 13.2 seconds to go.

At that point, Brookville was just hoping for overtime.

Instead what the Raiders got was the play of the year – if not the century – by Miner.

Starting from just behind midcourt, Miner read the inbounds pass, stole the ball, and laid it in with 9.4 seconds left to give Brookville a 62-60 lead.

Ellwood City still had s shot, and they took one from inside the paint as time expired only to have Miner, who else, swat it away for the game-clinching blocked shot.

Onto the PIAA semifinals for the first time in school history, Brookville was involved in another wild affair at home against Bishop Guilfoyle.

It was a game that didn’t want to end – literally didn’t want to end.

With Brookville clinging to a 45-44 lead the horn sounded three times before it was actually called an official game.

The first time occurred after Patrick Haigh missed a stepback jumper with 3.2 seconds left and Ian Pete grabbed the rebound, the buzzer sounded, and the Brookville players went crazy.

But the officials decided Pete was fouled with 0.6 of a second left sending him to the free-throw line.

The officials, however, got confused as to who really should have gone to the free-throw line and sent Hunter Geer there instead of Pete.

Geer, who had given Brookville the lead, 45-43, with a jumper with 1:18 to play, hit the first free throw to make it 46-44 but missed the second one. The rebound caromed toward the left corner where a BG player tracked it down.

The horn sounded again. Brookville celebrated again. The officials had other ideas again. They said the horn sounded before the ball was touched. They gave Bishop Guilfoyle the ball back in the backcourt with 0.6 of a second to play.

Bishop Guilfoyle got an OK look from 35-feet away. It was off the mark. This time the celebration was real. Brookville was headed to Hershey.

In Hershey, the Raiders ran into a team on a mission in Loyalsock and fell, 75-53, but it was a ride their fans will never forget.

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