State College boys basketball’s season comes to end in PIAA quarterfinal game

State College boys basketball coach Brian Scholly walked back to the locker room after his team’s PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal game against Spring-Ford at Mechanicsburg Area High School.

The Little Lions’ leader didn’t hold his head down or find himself reflecting on the season in a negative light. He remembered that his team gelled together and fought hard in spite of Saturday’s 45-39 loss to end its season.

“I’m super proud of all of the effort they put in, ultimately going back to last year and the years before that they’ve been in our program,” Scholly said. “We learned a lot of hard lessons last year and coming into this year, I challenged them with a couple of things. One of them was to learn those lessons last year — both the individual lessons, as well as the collective lessons.”

The Little Lions went 9-15 last season, but won the 2022 PIAA District 6 Class 6A championship and made the playoffs. State College went on to fall in the first round, bringing added motivation to the team.

This season was massively different, with State College finishing 25-3, winning the Mid-Penn title against Trinity by a convincing 66-40 score on Feb. 16 and dispatching Altoona 69-49 on Feb. 24 for the 2023 PIAA District 6 Class 6A championship — followed by three consecutive postseason wins.

The Little Lions were led in their effort by junior Issac Dye with 18 points, senior Ryan Perks capping off his high school career with 15 and Braeden Shrewsberry ending his with two points after an ankle injury.

Rams standout Jacob Nguyen finished with a game-high 22 points, followed by EJ Campbell with 12 points.

State College’s leading trio each finished with Mid-Penn Commonwealth all-star selections — Perks to the second team with 11.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game, Dye to the first team with 14.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals per game and Shrewsberry was selected as the player of the year and a first team selection with averages of 17.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.

The trio rarely complained in games about calls, or showing up to early workouts and getting extra shots up after practice, according to Scholly.

They just led by example.

“People are drawn to them,” Scholly said. “Without even trying to be a leader or trying to bring people to them, they’re just guys that people want to be around. That was evident this year, on and off the court with how much guys respected them and enjoyed hanging around them.”