BG prevails in waning seconds

Both Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic and Penn Cambria boys basketball have played two straight games that went right down to the final buzzer.

For BG, the results have been very good. For Penn Cambria, not as much.

Pat Irwin made 1-of-2 free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining to help the Marauders defeat Penn Cambria, 65-64, Thursday at the Pleasant Valley Gym.

After Panther forward Nathan Keagy tied the game 64-64 with a little over a minute to play, BG ran the clock down to 13 seconds then called timeout.

Guilfoyle spread the floor out of the timeout and set a high screen for Irwin, giving the senior guard the option to drive and kick it to a teammate or take the shot.

“When I came off the screen, A.J. [Leahey] didn’t show real hard, and with Brandon [Drenning] in the corner, his guy couldn’t come off him to help so I decided it was a layup or a foul,” Irwin said.

Leahey blocked the shot but was called for a foul, giving Irwin two free throws.

“We knew what we were going to get. I thought it was a clean block,” Penn Cambria coach Jim Ronan said.

Irwin missed the first foul shot, putting even more importance on the second one.

“I just went through my normal routine and tried not to think too much,” he said.

The Panthers had one final chance, but Leahey’s fade away jump shot over Zach Patterson hit the back of the rim and bounded out.

“I wanted to put a hand in his face and make it a tough shot for him. I think I did that,” Patterson said. “He’s obviously a great player. He can shoot. He can handle the ball. He’s the best player I’ll guard all year.”

Irwin also made several late free throws that helped BG (5-1) to a come-from-behind overtime win over Fairview Saturday in the championship of the Jim Ellis Shootout.

“We won a tight game playing from behind Saturday. [Thursday] was different,” BG coach Chris Drenning said. “We were ahead, and they made some tough shots to get back in the game. We executed the last shot exactly the way we wanted. I knew he’d make the free throw.”

Penn Cambria (6-2) also lost a tough one Saturday. Bellwood-Antis hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to knock off the Panthers in the finals of the Tyrone Reliance Bank Tournament.

“That’s the hardest part. To put in all of the hard work and not see it go your way two straight games is tough on kids this age,” Ronan said. “That’s my job as a coach to find a way to get them refocused and back on track.”

Leahey finished with a game-high 21 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double. Keagy scored in double digits as well with 17 points.

For BG, Drenning scored a team-high 20 points, 17 of which came in the first half as the Marauders built a 12-point lead. Irwin finished with 19 points, and Patterson added 11.

When C.J. Fulare converted two free throws in the early part of the third quarter, the Marauders were up 42-28, but Penn Cambria cut that lead to six by the end of the third quarter and continued to get closer throughout the fourth quarter.

Keagy sank a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game with 2:33 left, and Mack Behe made 1-of-2 foul shots 13 seconds later to tie the game 62-62.

Damon Rickens put BG ahead with an 18-foot jumper before Keagy tied the game again, setting up the final sequence.

PENN CAMBRIA (64): Behe 3 2-4 9, J. Mardula 0 2-2 2, Leahey 8 3-4 21, Keagy 7 3-4 17, Lawhead 3 0-0 6, Schwaderer 2 1-2 5, Przybys 0 0-0 0, M. Mardula 1 0-0 2, Hite 0 0-0 0, Tsikalas 1 0-0 2. Totals – 25 11-16 64.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (65): Fulare 0 3-4 3, McCloskey 2 0-0 5, Drenning 7 0-0 20, Patterson 4 3-7 11, Irwin 5 7-10 19, Koehle 0 0-0 0, Rickens 1 0-0 2, Chadbourn 1 0-0 2, Wolf 0 0-0 0, Nardelli 1 0-0 3, Baldessaro 0 0-0 0. Totals – 21 13-21 65.


Penn Cambria11 13 21 19 – 64

Bishop Guilfoyle13 22 16 14 – 65

3-point goals: Penn Cambria 3 (Leahey 2, Behe); Bishop Guilfoyle 10 (Drenning 6, Irwin 2, Nardelli, McCloskey).

Records: Penn Cambria (6-2); Bishop Guilfoyle (5-1).

Officials: Ted Beam, Dick Wagner, Dave Baronner.

JV: Bishop Guilfoyle, 50-29. High scorers-Tsikalas, PC, 11; Fiore, BG, 18.