A broken collarbone sidelined Damon Rickens 11 of Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic's 13 football games last fall, so he hopes the 2013-14 basketball season will be a special one.
The Marauders are off to a nice start with a 6-1 overall record and a 2-0 mark in Laurel Highlands Conference Section 1 following Wednesday's 58-54 overtime win over Central Cambria at the Pleasant Valley gym.
Rickens played a big part in the victory, scoring 19 points, including 17 in the second half and overtime.
"I was devastated when the football thing happened," Rickens said, "and I feel blessed to be on the court again and competing."
Central Cambria played a 2-3 zone and BG coach Chris Drenning was not pleased how the Marauders attacked it.
"In the first half and into the third quarter, we didn't get the ball inside-out by using the post and baseline," Drenning said. "We passed the ball around and shot 3's. If the 3's are going in, that's OK, but it's fools gold. It's temporary.
"We got numerous layups on the baseline in the fourth quarter and overtime because we were attacking inside-out. I don't know why it took us so long to understand that."
Central Cambria led 26-25 at the half and maintained the upper hand the entire second half until C.J. Fulare buried a 3-pointer with only eight seconds left to tie it at 50-all and send the game into overtime.
Rickens, a 6-foot-1 senior, came up big in the four-minute extra session.
"Coach always tell us to keep shooting and I'm confident with my shot," Rickens said. "C.J. is a great passer. He was able to get the entry passes to me and I was in the right spot."
After Rickens and CC's Will Seymour traded buckets early in OT, Rickens took a pass from Fulare and scored on a reverse layup with 47 seconds left. Rickens then stole a pass in the Red Devils' end of the court, was fouled and converted both ends of the double bonus for a 56-52 BG advantage.
"I knew he was going to pass," Rickens said. "He kind of stuttered and I was able to grab it."
Tanner Ambrisco's short jumper cut the BG lead to two, but Fulare sealed it with a pair of free throws.
"This one definitely slipped away," CC coach Adam Stephan said. "We played hard enough to win the game, but a couple mental errors down the stretch cost us the game."
The Red Devils led 44-38 with four minutes left in regulation and led 50-47 with less than a minute to go. However, an ill-advised shot gave BG a chance and Fulare's trey pushed it to OT where the Marauders prevailed.
"Hopefully, it's a lesson learned without having to lose," Drenning said. "Give Central Cambria credit. We were very fortunate to win."
CENTRAL CAMBRIA (54): Seymour 3 0-0 6, Ambrisco 8 0-0 18, Zearing 3 0-0 7, M. Leary 2 1-2 5, Homan 9 0-0 18, Gillen 0 0-0 0, Stevens 0 0-0 0. Totals - 25 1-2 54.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (58): Chadbourn 1 3-4 5, Brumbaugh 2 1-3 6, Rickens 7 3-4 19, McCloskey 5 1-2 14, Fulare 2 2-3 8, Wolf 0 0-0 0, Fiore 0 0-0 0, Gormley 1 0-0 3, Little 0 1-2 1. Totals - 18 11-18 58.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Central Cambria12 14 12 12 4 - 54
Bishop Guilfoyle15 10 9 16 8 - 58
3-point goals: Central Cambria 3 (Ambrisco 2, Zearing); Bishop Guilfoyle 9 (McCloskey 3, Rickens 2, Fulare 2, Brumbaugh, Gormley).
Officials: Gary Zimmerman, Dick Wagner, Sean Albright.
Records: Central Cambria (1-1 LHAC Sect. 1, 6-4 overall); Bishop Guilfoyle (2-0, 6-1).
JV: Guilfoyle, 36-34. High scorers-Livotti, BG, 15; Homerick and Farabaugh, 10 each.