BG boys cruise past CC

It’s not close to tennis weather yet, but the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic boys basketball team spent this week trying to hold serve.

“We played Forest Hills on Monday in a game that could have gone either way. We’ve still got to go there. We’ve got to go to Bishop Carroll. We’ve got to go back to Central Cambria. We had a really tight game with Penn Cambria,” Marauders coach Chris Drenning said. “It’s really important to win your home games. That’s what happened last year.”

The Marauders now have a leg up on repeating as Laurel Highlands Conference Section 1 champs. Thirty percent of the way into the section slate, Guilfoyle is the only undefeated team left, building a lead in the standings just like it did in Thursday night’s contest at the Pleasant Valley Gymnasium, when guards A.J. Labriola and Luke Ruggery each scored 24 points in a 78-51 victory over Central Cambria.

The game completed a 3-0 week for the Marauders. Guilfoyle improved to 3-0 in the section, taking a one-game lead over Forest Hills and Bishop Carroll after the Rangers knocked the Huskies from the unbeaten ranks last night.

“This is a big win for us, because Central Cambria’s having a big year, and we lost a couple of (non-section) games early,” said Labriola, who scored 14 in the first half as BG led by as many as 18, then added eight in the fourth quarter as the Marauders pulled away. “This was really big to get ourselves back on the right track in the conference.”

After the Red Devils made a charge to get to within six points, Guilfoyle ended the game on a 28-7 run to push its overall mark to 8-3. Guilfoyle was 9-for-20 from 3-point range and hit 50 percent of its shots from the field.

Nick Scaramozzino hit for 12 points for Guilfoyle.

“We wanted to run the floor, and that’s something I thought we did very well,” said Ruggery, who made four 3s and combined with Labriola to make seven from behind the arc. “We worked the ball around well, too.”

At first glance, the game was a matchup of Central Cambria’s Pitt-Johnstown-bound big man, Matt Holsinger, the reigning Altoona Mirror player of the year, and 2017 Mirror first-team all-star Ruggery. Guilfoyle’s excellence on the perimeter and ability to get out and run, though, reduced the presence of Holsinger. The Devils also suffered from the absence of dangerous guard Luke Bennett, who picked up his third foul at 4:07 of the second quarter.

The defending District 6 Class 3A champion and PIAA quarterfinalist, Central Cambria dipped to 7-5 overall and 1-2 in the section. It was Guilfoyle’s sixth straight win over the Devils, and the third in a row by at least 20 points.

“It’s always a tough matchup with Bishop Guilfoyle. They always seem to have big, athletic kids. It’s tough for Matt. Matt’s really good around the rim and a good rim protector, but they can pull him away from the basket,” Central Cambria coach Adam Stephan said.

Still, the Devils managed to slash a 35-17 second-quarter deficit to 50-44 on a Holsinger 3-pointer with 1:45 left in the third quarter. Central Cambria then got the ball back, and Holsinger — who finished with 21 points, 13 rebounds and a block — appeared ready to score from point-blank range, only to have Charles Patterson come from behind for a rejection while Scaramozzino occupied the Devils center from the front.

“He’s one of the best in our conference. We knew we had to front him and had to get weak-side help, and it was going to be tough,” Scaramozzino said. “That block was big. Anytime you can get a momentum swing like that, it’s big.”

Ruggery made a 3 on the other end, and then Labriola added two free throws to push the margin back to double figures.

“It’s a battle between four teams right now (in the section). It was really nice to go 3-0 this week and getting a nice win going into next week,” Ruggery said.

Game notes: Bennett finished with 11 points for Central Cambria, which also got three second-quarter 3-pointers from Alex Persio. … Central Cambria is in the midst of five straight road games. The Devils travel to Forest Hills on Monday. … Guilfoyle, which played seven of its first eight games away, is at Cambria Heights in a section game on Monday. … Guilfoyle won the junior varsity game, 56-43.

CENTRAL CAMBRIA (51): A. Persio 3 0-0 9, Bennett 5 0-0 11, Bezek 2 0-2 4, Melnyk 1 0-0 2, Holsinger 7 5-8 21, Knopp 0 0-0 0, Pellegrino 2 0-0 4, Sekerak 0 0-0 0, Garzarelli 0 0-0 0, Seymour 0 0-0 0, Tsikalas 0 0-0 0. Totals — 20 5-10 51.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (78): L. Ruggery 8 4-4 24, Labriola 9 3-3 24, Scharf 2 2-2 7, Conrad 3 0-0 6, Scaramozzino 6 0-0 12, Patterson 1 0-1 2, Montecalvo 1 0-0 3, Helton 0 0-0 0, K. Ruggery 0 0-0 0, Pleva 0 0-0 0, Yanoshak 0 0-0 0, Witherspoon 0 0-0 0, Kenner 0 0-0 0. Totals — 30 9-10 78.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Central Cambria 11 19 16 5 — 51

Bishop Guilfoyle 23 21 13 21 — 78

3-point goals: Central Cambria 6 (Bennett, A. Persio 3, Holsinger 2); Bishop Guilfoyle 9 (L. Ruggery 4, Labriola 3, Scharf, Montecalvo).

Records: Central Cambria (7-5; 1-2 LHAC Section 1); Bishop Guilfoyle (8-3; 3-0 LHAC Section 1).

Officials: Tyler Fink, Steve Searer, Dave Pray.

JV: Bishop Guilfoyle, 56-43. High scorers–Devin Balsinger, CC, 12; Kyle Ruggery, BG, 11.

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