The Little Lions’ three senior leaders came up big when it mattered most Thursday night.
That State College boys’ basketball trio — Tommy Friberg, Cam Villarouel and Brenden Franks — helped their team overcome a slow start en route to a 56-53 win over Altoona in the District 6 Class 6A championship. The Little Lions will now advance against an opponent and time to be determined in the District 6-8-10 subregional semifinal, meaning they’re just one win away from the state tournament.
“The goal every year is to win District 6, and we knew it was going to be a heck of a game,” State College coach Brian Scholly said. “Credit to Altoona; they were very well-prepared and played a heck of a game.”
The senior trio helped the team stay calm after Altoona’s inside-outside offense caught the Little Lions a little off-guard in the first quarter. Despite trailing 16-11 after the first, State College collected itself and outscored Altoona 45-37 the rest of the way.
Tommy Friberg finished with 14 points, Villarouel added 18, and Franks recorded a double-double with 16 points and at least 10 rebounds.
For the last two minutes of the game, State College didn’t surrender the lead and instead watched it see-saw between one and three points. The key came in the waning seconds when Cole Friberg dribbled the clock down to 1.3 seconds until he was fouled. He made the first free throw to give the Little Lions a 56-53 lead and then missed the second free-throw attempt — but Altoona didn’t have a chance at a last-second buzzer-beater.
Franks got Cole Friberg’s rebound.
“Tommy, Cam and Brenden Franks really showed why they’ve been our leaders all year,” Scholly said. “Brenden was amazing on the glass at both ends, and Tommy and Cam did a great job making plays on the offensive end.”