BG boys can’t stop Sewickley

GREENSBURG — Practice makes perfect. But what do you do when you can’t simulate what you need to work against?

Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic faced that conundrum Thursday in the Marauders’ Class 2A second round game against WPIAL champion Sewickley Academy at Hempfield Area High School.

The Panthers’ speed and athleticism helped Sewickley build a 24-point lead in the second quarter en route to a 70-58 victory.

“It’s hard to simulate the speed they play in practice,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Chris Drenning said. “They are very athletic, and we had some turnovers early where we just dropped passes or something like that.”

Nate Ridgeway led Sewickley Academy with 22 points.

“Usually we start slow in the first quarter and turn it on in the third quarter,” Ridgeway said. “Today we came out with the intensity and just fed off it.”

The Marauders finally adjusted to the pace of play, a stark contrast to their slow-paced first round victory over McConnellsburg, late in the second quarter and went on a 9-0 run to cut the halftime deficit to 17.

“I know we didn’t play anybody that fast, and it’s an adjustment,” Drenning said. “They start three seniors that played in the semifinals a year ago.”

Bishop Guilfoyle carried the momentum into the second half and outscored the Panthers, 36-31, in the second half.

“Once we adjusted, we played them on fairly even terms,” Drenning said. “With a team like that, it’s hard to fall that far behind, and it’s very difficult to play in those circumstances.”

BG’s Luke Ruggery led all scorers with 25 points, and senior Luke Frederick added 12 points.

“I knew we wouldn’t quit,” Drenning said. “This team has far too much character. We have great senior leadership. These kids have won state titles. We won nine, 16 and 18 this year. These guys have improved every year and showed what is expected in this program.”

Another senior, Josh Trybus, came into the game averaging 13.2 points per game, but he did not attempt a shot until late in the third quarter and finished with five points.

“We knew he was an outstanding player,” Sewickley Academy coach Win Palmer said. “We knew him and Ruggery were great players, and we wanted to try and bottle one of them up. Fortunately, we were able to make one of them a non-factor for most of the game.”

Trybus did steal a pass and make a layup that made the score 52-41 early in the fourth quarter, but the Marauders missed several chances to get the deficit back to single digits before a quick 5-0 Sewickley spurt basically put the game out of reach.

Fellow senior Andrew Irwin added six points off the bench, and Evan Chadbourn played the final few minutes after missing much of the season and postseason with a knee injury suffered before football season.

“We won our section, played for the district championship and lost at the buzzer,” Drenning said. “We beat the double, triple and 4A champs during the season, and we accomplished a lot of things against a very tough schedule.”

Drenning is hoping the game helps Ruggery, A.J. Labriola, Nick Scaramozzino and Justin Charlton, all of whom played significant minutes Thursday as underclassmen, be more prepared for next season.

“For the guys coming back, this is a learning experience,” Drenning said. “They saw what they need to be able to adjust immediately, not after you fall behind. We have a lot of experience coming back, and I hope we take what we learned here today and put it to good use.”

Sewickley will play Greensburg Central Catholic in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (58): Trybus 2 1-2 5, Ruggery 7 8-8 25, Labriola 1 0-0 2, Frederick 5 2-2 12, Scaramozzino 2 0-0 4, Irwin 2 2-2 6, Charlton 0 4-4 4, Patterson 0 0-0 0, Chadbourn 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 17-18 58.

SEWICKLEY ACADEMY (70): Pryor 2 2-2 7, C. Groetsch 3 5-6 12, 3 5-6 12, D. Groetsch 4 4-6 14, Ridgeway 10 1-1 22, Hickton 2 2-2 6, Smith 0 1-2 1, Warfield 1 6-8 8, McClain 0 0-0 0, Rooney 0 0-0 0. Totals — 22 21-27 70.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Bishop Guilfoyle 9 13 17 19 — 58

Sewickley Academy 19 20 13 18 — 70

3-pointers: Bishop Guilfoyle 3 (Ruggery 3). Sewickley Academy 6 (D. Groetsch 2, Ridgeway, C. Groetsch, Pryor).

Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (18-8); Sewickley Academy (22-4).

Officials: Paul Puleo, Carl Engutan, Mike Chokel.

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