Local youth hoops fans treated to another exciting "Championship Weekend"
For three quarters in Sunday afternoon's Senior Division championship game, the Frogs hung right with the top-ranked Cardinals.
However, as the fourth quarter wore on, the Cards flexed their hoops muscles and began pulling away.
The terrible trio of Noah Pender, Jacob VanDeLinde and Dyllon Fillebrown combined to score 11 points in the final stanza, leading the Cards to a 27-16 win and the Biddy Basketball Association title.
Just minutes after the final buzzer sounded, co-coaches Adam Diehl and Aaron Lenz began singing their players' praises.
"I loved working with these kids this year," said Coach Diehl. "They were a lot of fun to be around. I'm very proud of them for what they accomplished."
Coach Lenz was quick to agree.
"They fought their way through some adversity and really bonded as a team," he said. "All of them worked really hard to get better as basketball players."
With this championship game triumph, the Cards finished up the 2012-13 campaign with eight wins and just one loss. The team went 6-1 during the regular season and 2-0 in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, a storybook run by the Frogs ended in heartbreak with this title tilt setback.
With longtime coaches Pete Goyette and Craig Rickard calling the shots, this team opened the year with back-to-back losses.
The Frogs turned things around in a hurry, though, reeling off six straight wins to secure a spot in the final.
While the Cards rode an offensive explosion into the title tilt, the Frogs had to stage a late-game rally to claim their spot.
Noah Pender erupted for a monster performance in leading the Cards to a 36-28 semifinal victory over the Mavericks.
A 5'10" center, Pender needed just three quarters to rattle the rims for 24 points. Fillebrown hit for seven, while VanDeLinde added three and Scarfalloto two.
Justin LoBasso worked hard to keep the Mavs close with 12 points and Aiden Pietraszewski chipped in with seven.
In Saturday's second semifinal, the Hawks had the Frogs on the ropes, but couldn't seal the deal.
The lead was 23-16, but it wouldn't be enough as the Frogs closed out the game on a 12-0 run en route to a 28-23 triumph.
Colin Rickard emerged as the game's leading scorer. This talented young cager tickled the twine for 15 points, seven of which came in the final stanza.
Adam Blake and Connor Eisele each contributed four to the cause, while Jack Dennis added three and Tyler Duffy two.
The Hawks were paced by Alex Ashley (eight) and Caleb Martin (six).
The Frogs strategy was obvious right from the opening tip of Sunday's championship game.
Coach Goyette used a double team on Pender in an effort to limit his touches in the post. It was a game plan that didn't exactly surprise Cards coaches.
"Oh we totally expected that," Diehl said with a laugh. "They slowed him down a little bit, but Noah still made some really big shots out there."
Despite the constant attention, Pender still managed to tally a team-best eight. He also received plenty of help from a solid supporting cast.
Fillebrown set the stage early by dialing up a long distance trey. Dyllon would finish his night with six.
VanDeLinde also powered his way to six, while Scarfalloto added five and Zach Beatty two.
Clay Martin kept things close early on with six points for the Frogs and Blake heated up in the second half. Adam hit one huge jumper after another and wound up with a team-best eight.
In the end, though, it was the Cards' intimidating presence in the paint that made the difference.
"This game went pretty much exactly the way we expected," Coach Diehl said. "We dominated in the paint and that was the big difference. We played good defense and really got after the rebounds."
Score by Quarters...
Cards 5 5 6 11 - 27
Frogs 0 4 6 6 - 16