EBENSBURG - For 20 minutes, the outcome of Thursday night's District 6 Class A boys quarterfinal between Bishop Guilfoyle and Ferndale was in doubt. The Marauders held a seven-point halftime lead, but the Yellow Jackets made a run to cut the lead to four points midway through the third quarter. However, Bishop Guilfoyle did not panic.
The Marauders came out of the media timeout and put together an 8-0 run to push the lead back to double figures. Damon Rickens added two 3-pointers in the final minute of the quarter to give Bishop Guilfoyle a 41-30 lead with eight minutes to play.
The Marauders settled down with the big lead and cruised in the fourth quarter to advance to play Homer-Center in the District 6-A semifinals with a 56-37 victory.
"I wasn't thrilled with our decision making in the first half," Bishop Guilfoyle coach Chris Drenning said. "We seemed to be a little more flat footed than I like. We came out in the third quarter and took better shots, that was the big thing. We took quality shots. When you take better shots, your percentage goes up. We made a nice run. I thought we got a nice pick up off the bench from Brandon Chadbourn and Damon Rickens. Brandon in the first half really gave us a big lift, and Damon in the second half. We hit enough shots that we got some separation, and we were pretty smart with the ball down the stretch."
Pat Irwin got the scoring started in the decisive third quarter with a layup that seemed to give Bishop Guilfoyle a comfortable nine-point lead at 25-16. However, a five point run by the Yellow Jackets cut the lead to 25-21. After both teams traded baskets Zach Patterson was fouled just before the media timeout at the 3:59 mark of the quarter. Patterson came out of the timeout and hit both free throws to spark the 8-0 run. Chadbourn hit two baskets during the run, and Sam McCloskey added two foul shots to push the lead to 35-23.
Ferndale then used another 5-0 run to get the lead back in single digits, 35-27. However, Rickens hit two late 3-pointers, sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Isaiah Sajatovich. Rickens second triple came with two seconds left in the third frame, giving the Marauders a 41-30 lead with eight minutes to play.
"They are a well coached team, and they have 10 guys that come in," Ferndale coach Ryan Durham said. "They can all dribble, pass and shoot, and they are very solid. Eventually, they were able to get us. The game was tight, and they really picked it up a notch, and they were physical. That is a really good team."
Rickens added his third triple of the game early in the fourth quarter as Bishop Guilfoyle outscored Ferndale, 15-7, in the final frame to advance.
"He's a very good shooter when he is on," Drenning said of Rickens. "He has done that several times for us this year, at Bellwood and Central come to mind. He is very capable. He is a very, very good shooter. We were struggling with foul trouble with Pat [Irwin] and some other players. It's nice to have that luxury to bring him off the bench."
Bishop Guilfoyle looked like it would run away with the game early in the contest. Brandon Drenning hit two early buckets, one a 3-pointer, to spark a 7-0 run to open the game for the Marauders. However, they struggled to add to their lead. They hit only two buckets in the final four minutes of the quarter, and took an 11-3 edge after eight minutes.
After trading at the start of the quarter, McCloskey and Drenning led a 6-0 run that gave Bishop Guilfoyle a 21-10 lead at the media timeout with 3:04 left in the half. However, Ferndale closed the quarter on a 6-2 run to cut the lead to 23-16 at intermission.
Rickens was the leading scorer for Bishop Guilfoyle with 11 points. Chadbourn also came off the bench to chip in 10 points. Chad Eisenhuth and Sajatovich tallied 11 points each to pace Ferndale.
"We need to play better, first of all," Drenning said of his team's advancement in the playoffs. "We have to get better from here. I don't think this was an 'A' by any stretch. We'll have to go back to practice and work on some things. Homer-Center is very good, so we will have to play well."
FERNDALE (37): Mason 0 0-0 0, Sajatovich 4 0-0 11, Hinton 3 0-0 6, C. Eisenhuth 5 1-3 11, Harrison 4 0-0 9, L. Eisenhuth 0 0-0 0, Kinsey 0 0-0 0, Hileman 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 1-3 37.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (56): Irwin 1 0-1 2, Fulare 1 0-0 2, McCloskey 3 2-2 8, Drenning 3 0-0 7, Patterson 2 2-2 6, Chadbourn 5 0-0 10, Koehle 1 0-0 2, Rickens 4 0-0 11, Nardelli 1 0-0 2, Wolf 0 0-0 0, Brumbaugh 0 2-2 2, Fiore 0 0-0 0, Little 2 0-0 4, Gormley 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 6-7 56.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Ferndale3 13 14 7 - 37
Bishop Guilfoyle11 12 18 15 - 56
3-point field goals: Ferndale 4 (Sajatovich 3, Harrison); Bishop Guilfoyle 4 (Rickens 3, Drenning).
Records: Ferndale (12-10); Bishop Guilfoyle (17-5).