BELLWOOD - And, then there were none.
Bellwood-Antis, the final unbeaten boys' basketball team in the Mirror-coverage area, suffered its first loss Saturday night, falling to Bishop Guilfoyle, 57-54, before a packed house at the B-AHS gym.
Noah Davis, the Blue Devils' one-man wrecking crew, poured in 35 points, but it wasn't enough to offset the balanced Marauders, who had six players score between six and 14 points.
It was the first loss in 13 games for Bellwood. Guilfoyle improved to 11-2 with its fourth win of the week.
"It wasn't a good one was it?" B-A coach Brent Gerwert said. "Coming in 12-0, we knew we had a task in front of us.
"To BG's credit, they came down and did exactly what they had to do, and we didn't play like we normally do."
BG coach Chris Drenning, on the other hand, was excited about his team's play.
"What a great atmosphere," Drenning said of the big crowd. "I told the kids we're not perfect by any stretch but we're going to keep working toward it.
"I'm proud of the kids," Drenning continued,"and I'm proud of how hard they've worked. We've had 13 games and they show up to play every day."
In his first year as BG coach, Drenning has made good use of his bench, playing 10 or more players each night. Last night, 11 Marauders saw action and seven scored.
Senior guard Pat Irwin made 6-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter and led the way with 14 points. Brandon Drenning, the coach's son, finished with 13, thanks to three 3s. Drenning nailed a pair of treys and two free throws in the fourth quarter when the Marauders kept the Blue Devils at arm's length.
Damon Rickens came off the bench for nine points - all in the second half. Zach Patterson scored seven in the third quarter while C.J. Fulare and Sam McCloskey chipped in with six apiece.
"I think that's who we are," Chris Drenning said of his team's balance. "I like that, especially in the playoffs when teams have to gameplan for you. If you have several options, you're tough to stop."
The game was tied at 11-all after one quarter and Irwin's driving layup at the buzzer gave BG a 22-19 advantage at the half. The Marauders led the entire second half, although Noah Davis' efforts kept it interesting. The 6-foot-6 Davis scored 26 points in the second half, hitting 10-of-12 shots, including three 3s in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough to overcome BG's balance.
"Damon is explosive offensively," Chris Drenning said of Rickens, whose three baskets in the third quarter helped BG extend its lead. "When we went to Central Cambria the other night, we had a kid out and Rickens scored 17 points.
"If he hits his first shot, he can be dangerous," Drenning noted. "Plus, he also rebounds the ball well. I know what he can do offensively, but his defensive rebounding is really improving.
"He'd start for a ton of teams, but he's really valuable coming off the bench for us."
Rickens, a 6-1 junior, likes his role as a reserve.
"I like coming off the bench," Rickens said. "When I get in, I do whatever I can to help my team win. I love that Coach Drenning believes in me and, when he calls my number, I do my best."
Rickens expected a tough match last night.
"We knew it was going to be a loud environment here," Rickens said. "We wanted to start strong because we've had problems with that this year.
"We were 3-0 on the week coming here and we wanted to show everyone we're for real this year."
Despite the first loss, Gerwert said there's no time to sulk because the Blue Devils play again Monday (Claysburg-Kimmel) and Tuesday (at Everett).
"We have to get someone other than Noah involved [in our offense,]" Gerwert said. "We only had four people score tonight and, in a big game, that's not going to do it.
"It wasn't from a lack of effort, but when the buzzer sounded, we were down three points."
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (57): Irwin 4 6-10 14, Drenning 4 2-3 13, Patterson 3 1-1 7, Fulare 3 0-1 6, Koehle 0 0-0 0, Rickens 3 2-4 9, McCloskey 1 3-4 6, Baldessaro 0 0-0 0, Nardelli 0 0-0 0, Wolf 0 0-0 0, Chadbourn 1 0-0 2. Totals - 19 14-23 57.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (54): No. Davis 14 4-6 35, Na. Davis 1 1-3 3, C. Worthing 0 0-0 0, S. Worthing 0 0-0 0, Sisto 3 1-1 8, Wyland 3 2-2 8, K. Bartlett 0 0-0 0, Burget 0 0-0 0, Wilson 0 0-0 0. Totals - 21 8-12 54.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Guilfoyle11 11 14 21 - 57
Bellwood-Antis11 8 12 23 - 54
3-point goals: Bishop Guilfoyle 5 (Drenning 3, McCloskey, Rickens); Bellwood-Antis 4 (No. Davis 3, Sisto).
Officials: Dick Wagner, Gary Zimmerman, Dave Heim.
Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (11-2); Bellwood-Antis (12-1).
JV: Bishop Guilfoyle, 52-43. High scorers-Brandon Chadbourn, BG, 11; Nathan Davis, B-A, 18.