READING – Carlisle 5-9 senior Ben Milligan has to make the most of his opportunities.
He did just that on Saturday afternoon at Reading High School’s Geigle Complex in the PIAA state 6A quarterfinal against Emmaus.
With a dynamic teammates like point guard Deshawn Millington and forward Ethan Houston, Milligan doesn’t get a lot of touches.
But he had the ball when it counted most in this wild firefight.
Milligan nailed two three-point shots in the final 13.5 seconds of regulation time, the second coming just before the final horn to tie the game at 62-62 and send it to overtime.
He sank another three-point shot in the first overtime that gave Carlisle a 68-66 lead.
But it took the Thundering Herd a second overtime to defeat Emmaus 78-74 and advance to the 6A final four for the first time since 1988 when the Herd finished off a remarkable streak of four straight 4A state championships.
Milligan’s clutch shots culminated a desperation comeback by the Herd. Check out Milligan’s comments on the game highlights link above.
Led by talented guards David and Matt Kachelries who combined for 57 points, Emmaus had a 56-46 lead with 3:05 left in the game.
Carlisle could not control the twin brothers, who repeatedly drove to the basket and kept the pressure on the Herd on offense and defense.
The Hornets grabbed a quick 10-3 lead to start the game and stayed in front by repelling a number of Carlisle charges.
David Kachelries scored eight straight points, part of his 36 for the game, to build the lead to 10 late in the fourth quarter.
But the Herd had one last push in them. And Emmaus’ unwillingness to hold the ball and force Carlisle to foul to protect the lead set the table for a Herd rally.
Finally, Millington, who only had four points in the first three quarters—he sat out most of the third quarter with three fouls, got going.
He scored eight as the Herd outscored Emmaus 10-2.
And when David Kachelries missed a foul shot—his fourth-straight miss--that would have given Emmaus a secure four-point lead with 7.9 seconds left in regulation, Millington grabbed the rebound, raced up the floor and found Milligan, who scored 12 points on four threes, open in front of the Carlisle bench.
Milligan’s three-point shot ripped through the net just before the buzzer.
In the first overtime, Matt Kachelries sent the game to a second overtime when he was fouled on a three-point shot attempt and then made all three free throws with 24.4 seconds remaining.
In the second overtime, with both teams physically spent, Carlisle made just seven of 14 free throws but it was enough to advance.
Houston led Carlisle with 20 points. Millington had 16, Gavyn Barnes 13 and Nate Barnes 12.
Josh Artis had 10 for Emmaus, the fourth-place team from District 11 which finished with a 22-7 record.
Now 21-8, the fifth-place team from District 3 Carlisle faces WPIAL champion Pine Richland (27-1), which won its quarterfinal on Saturday over Butler 64-58.