Warren celebrates its first D10 title since 1983. Photo by Mark Evans.

Dragons in Command From Start to Finish in Beating Hickory for First D10 Title in 41 Years

March 1, 2024

EDINBORO, Pa. – At long last.

Braylon Barnes scored 27 points and Brady Berdine 20 as No. 3 Warren captured its first District 10 title since 1983 with a 71-52 win over No. 5 Hickory at PennWest Edinboro’s McComb Fieldhouse Friday.

“It feels awesome,” Barnes said. “We’ve all been playing together since we’ve been young. This is history. We feel it.”

It’s a group that won its three D10 playoff games by a combined 52 points.

“We’ve really come together and it shows,” said Berdine.

See Barnes and Berdine’s full postgame interview:

Warren coach Jeff Berdine has been at the helm for the Dragons since the 2002-03 season and could sense this particular team had what it takes to end the D10 drought.

“We’ve been at it for a while now,” coach Berdine said. “We’ve had other opportunities and come up a little short. I really thought this year that this group had a good chance. We just needed to come together, take the constructive criticism and work hard to get better defensively and we did that. I’m proud of the kids and the effort that they gave.”

It was a game that Warren (20-5) took control of early.

Hickory took an 8-6 lead on a Landon Bean jumper with 3:40 to play in the first quarter, but Warren responded with a 13-2 run that was capped by a Barnes 3-pointer early in the second quarter.

The Dragons never trailed again.

Barnes was on fire in the first half, scoring 17 points as the lead swelled to eight, 36-28 at halftime. Hickory had cut it to five on a Ryan Robich free-throw, by Tommy Nyquist answered with a 3-point play.

Warren’s Braylon Barnes goes up for 2. Photo by Mark Evans.

Nyquist drew the defensive assignment of Hickory’s leading scorer, Rylan Dye, limiting him to five points.

“We knew they were going to be good defensively,” coach Berdine said. “I really thought the key was getting stops, getting out in transition, getting buckets and getting the flow of the game at our pace. The kids play well in space and in transition. Once we were able to get a couple stops to start the second half, we took over the momentum and the kids could really feel it.”

To Berdine’s point, Warren started the second half on a 7-0 run that was capped by a Konnor Hoffman 3-point play.

“That media timeout in the third quarter, really after that we just kind of took over the game,” Brady Berdine said.

Hickory was able to cut the lead to nine, 47-38 on a Dom Uberti 3-pointer with 1:30 to go in the third but back-to-back buckets by Berdine started an 18-7 run that stretched the lead to 20 points and put the game away.

“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Nqyuist said.

See Nyquist’s full interview:

Nyquist controlled the game from his point guard spot and finished with nine points, while Hoffman also added nine, Logan Crissey four and Chase Sitler two.

Robich paced Hickory (17-8) with 17 points, while Trevor Borowicz tallied 13 and Uberti nine.

With the win, Warren will host the No. 5 team from the WPIAL, North Catholic, in the first round of the PIAA Class 4A championships on Friday, March 8.

Hickory, meanwhile, will hit the road to take on WPIAL runner-up Hampton.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Barnes said. “We’re going to feel the energy. I think it’s going to be a great game. We just have to come together as a team and do our thing out there.”

Added coach Berdine: “I think it’s huge. Both the boys and girls both have a chance to win District 10 championships and host home state playoff games. That’s great for the school, a rural school in Northwest Pennsylvania, to be able to say that, it’s awesome.”

GROVE CITY 50, SHARON 47

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Nathan Greer had a huge third quarter as Grove City held off Sharon, 50-47, in the District 10 Class 4A third-place game to advance to the PIAA Tournament.

Greer scored 10 of his game-high 16 points in the third quarter to help the Eagles to a 41-35 lead heading to the fourth.

The Tigers (20-5) had a chance to tie with 1.5 seconds left, but couldn’t hit the tying shot.

Paul Gubba and Brett Laughry each added 11 points for the Eagles (15-10)

Derek Douglas and Levi Hailstock each had 11 points for the Tigers.

Grove City will face the No. 3 team from the WPIAL, Uniontown, on Friday in the first round of the PIAA Tournament.

      

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