Huskies bite BG: Burk wins it for Carroll

Standing 6-foot-5, Bishop Carroll Catholic High School sophomore forward Nolan Burk possesses a wide wing span and a knack of getting himself open on the low block.

He’s an excellent rebounder who is also an inviting target for Carroll’s playmakers to feed the ball to underneath the basket.

“He’s 6-5 with long arms and something that we’ve been working on in practice is getting him the ball,” Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo said Monday night. “(His size) is something that we’ve got to use.”

Carroll used Burk’s size superbly Monday, as he got himself free underneath the basket and converted a pass from senior teammate Ben Eckenrode for a game-winning field goal as the final seconds ran down, giving the Huskies an electrifying 56-54 Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference Section 1 victory over Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic at a packed Pleasant Valley Gymnasium.

Carroll’s play was originally designed to be a shot for junior guard Carson Ertter, but Ertter didn’t have an open look, and he fed the ball to Eckenrode instead, who found Burk in the clear.

“We put four down on the blocks, and had one guy drive in with the hopes of getting (Guilfoyle) to cave in on him and leave a guy open for a layup,” Burk said. “The play was designed for whoever was open, but plays were running to me the entire game, so I thought I might be getting the ball.”

Burk did, and put it into the basket for the game-winning field goal that broke a 54-54 tie and helped Carroll improve its overall record to 13-5 and its record in Section 1 of the LHAC to 4-2.

“It was a good pass, and I was going to put it in, or die trying,” Burk said. “It’s a good feeling helping the team get a win — there’s nothing like it.”

Aliquo said that although the play wasn’t specifically designed the way it ultimately materialized, it worked out just dandy for Carroll nonetheless.

“(Burk) was working for it — that’s something that we’ve wanted to do all season,” Aliquo said. “We were (originally) going to drive it with Carson, and if he was open, he was going to shoot it. But he wasn’t open, so he kicked it out to Ben, and he got it to Nolan, which became an even better thing for us.”

BG couldn’t get the ball back up the floor in time to get a solid game-winning opportunity of its own, as junior guard Luke Ruggery — who scored a game-high 22 points — heaved a desperation shot short of the mark at the buzzer and the Carroll bench erupted in jubilation on the court.

“We crowded Eckenrode, who is a really good 3-point shooter, but he passed it off (to Burk) and they got a point-blank shot,” said BG coach Chris Drenning, whose team dropped to 12-4, 5-1. “It was good execution on their part, and poor execution on our part. I thought they outplayed us, and I thought they out-executed us. They deserved to win the game.”

Like most BG-Carroll basketball matchups in recent years, this game was a tooth-and-nail struggle in which both teams played their collective hearts out.

Tied at 43-43 after three quarters, Carroll took a 53-51 lead on Burk’s turnaround shot from the key before Ruggery’s 3-pointer from the right side gave BG back the lead, 54-53, with 2:17 left in the game.

Burk was fouled with 41 seconds left, and made one of two free throws to tie the score, 54-54.

BG was called for a five-second violation with the ball with 25 seconds left, and Carroll regained possession, leading to the final sequence and Burk’s game-winning heroics.

Ertter had 15 points and Burk added 13 for Carroll, which broke out to an 11-2 lead at the outset of the game before BG responded with a 13-point run of its own to pull ahead, 15-11.

The Marauders, who also got 10 points from guard Mike Scharf, led at halftime, 27-26, and the game went back and forth throughout the third quarter and the entire second half.

Aliquo knows how difficult it is for a visiting team to win on BG’s cozy little floor.

“No lead is safe with them,” Aliquo said. “You could have a 10-point lead and end up tied very quickly. They’re as solid as they come. They’re tough to beat anywhere.”

Carroll managed to pull off the trick Monday, though, erasing a seven-point (36-29) third-quarter deficit with the help of two field goals by junior Alex Karlheim, another field goal and two free throws by senior Alec Ratchford, a bucket by sophomore Hamid Rodkey, and Ertter’s short pullup jumper that tied the score, 41-41 late in the third period.

“I thought our rebounding was pretty solid in the second half, and we worked the ball better,” Aliquo said. “We were down seven, but we came back. Hopefully, we’re going to grow from that.”

Drenning wishes the same thing for his team.

“This was a great high school basketball game,” Drenning said. “I hope we can use it, and learn from it, so that all won’t be lost.”

Game notes: BG owned a 23-21 edge in rebounds, with senior Nick Scaramozzino grabbing seven and Ruggery six …. Carroll made 22 of 43 floor shots (51 percent), while BG made 21 of 47 (44.7 percent) … BG travels to Northern Cambria for a non-league game Wednesday night, while Carroll hosts Cambria Heights in a LHAC Section 1 game Thursday night.

BISHOP CARROLL (56): Eckenroad 2 0-0 6, Ratchford 2 2-2 6, Ertter 5 4-5 15, H. Rodkey 3 0-0 6, Karlheim 2 0-0 4, Burk 6 1-2 13, McDannell 2 1-2 6, Semelsberger 0 0-0 0. Totals — 22 8-9 56.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (54): Conrad 1 0-0 2, L. Ruggery 8 1-1 22, Labriola 2 1-4 6, Scaramozzino 4 0-0 9, Scharf 4 0-0 10, Montecalvo 0 0-0 0, Patterson 2 1-3 5. Totals — 21 3-8 54.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Bishop Carroll 11 15 17 13 — 56

Bishop Guilfoyle 15 12 16 11 — 54

3-point goals: Bishop Carroll 4 (Eckenroad 4, Ertter, McDannell); Bishop Guilfoyle 9 (L. Ruggery 5, Scharf 2, Labriola, Scaramozzino).

Records: Bishop Carroll (13-5, 4-2 LHAC Section 1); Bishop Guilfoyle (12-4, 5-1 LHAC Section 1).

JV: Bishop Guilfoyle, 58-46. High scorers–Zazverskey, BC, 16; Kenner, Kyle Ruggery, BG, 16 apiece.

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