Second-half press helps Guilfoyle take down CC

By Rob Longo

For the Mirror

EBENSBURG — As the calendar flips to February and teams around the area head down the home stretch of the regular-season schedule, every game becomes a little more meaningful; moreso when those teams go on the road, looking for a win.

That’s the position Bishop Guilfoyle found itself in Monday night, locked in a tight battle with Central Cambria. The entire game was a slow, back-and-forth affair, until the Marauders elected to change the tempo of the second half, securing a 67-61 win.

“We weren’t playing fast enough, so we started pressing full court,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Chris Drenning said. “Honestly, that probably turned the game around. I thought we started playing faster and that started making (Central Cambria) play faster, and that’s to our advantage.”

The Marauders needed all the help they could get to garner an advantage. Bishop Guilfoyle saw several shots rim out at the last second, along with a few calls that didn’t go its way. But the most blatant decision came early in the fourth quarter with Bishop Guilfoyle trying to extend its lead on a fast break. An errant pass slipped out of the hands of Marauder, hitting an official in the leg, who was on the court of play. By rule, the play should have continued, as the ball rolled towards the 3-point arc. However, the official blew his whistle and killed the play.

“Especially on the road, you aren’t going to get every call,” Drenning said. “I told our guys we had to play through it. We just had to keep playing.”

Controlling what you can control is an old cliche, but it held true for Bishop Guilfoyle Monday. The Marauders were able to dictate the tempo in the second half, something that they thrive on.

“It definitely helped,” said A.J. Labriola, who finished with 19 points; 10 of those coming in the second quarter alone. “We were really sluggish before that.”

Comfortability can be everything for a player, and Luke Ruggery is one of those players that feels comfortable in a fast-paced game. The junior had a game-high 24 points, with eight coming in the first quarter and nine coming in the final frame.

“He’s relentless; in three years he’s never taken a drill off in practice,” said Drenning. “The faster you play, the better he likes it. He’s really coachable. Everyone would like five of those.”

Despite the adversity, Bishop Guilfoyle dominated defensively in the fourth quarter, mostly because of the uptick in tempo, as well as pressure. Central Cambria was held without a made basket until the 4:36 mark, as the Marauders used an 8-1 run to stretch out their lead.

“We definitely wanted to improve on the defensive end and it looks like we took a step (Monday),” said Ruggery. “We decided to pressure them more and it worked out in our favor.”

The main reason Monday’s contest was so competitive was due in part by Central Cambria’s Matt Holsinger, who finished with a team-high 22 points despite fouling out late in the fourth quarter. The 6-6 senior had three fouls in the first half, but also knocked down a trio of 3-point shots while dominating in the paint, hauling in rebounds left and right.

“It’s very tough (to guard him), especially when he that outside shot because you have to play him both ways,” Ruggery said. “It makes it hard to shut him down in the post and also keep him (contained) on the perimeter.”

Things don’t get any easier for Bishop Guilfoyle, which had to return to Ebensburg Tuesday to face Bishop Carroll, a team the Marauders lost to 56-54 last Monday.

“It’s the dog days of the season; we have three games left,” said Drenning. “I know we’ll play hard, and we’ll see where we stand at the end of the night.”

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (67): Scharf 1 2-2 4, Ruggery 7 7-10 24, Conrad 3 0-1 6, Scaramozzino 6 0-1 12, Labriola 7 1-1 19, Patterson 0 0-0 0, Montecalvo 0 0-0 0, Witherspoon 1 0-0 2, Pelva 0 0-2 0. Totals: 25 10-17 67.

CENTRAL CAMBRIA (61): A. Persio 3 2-4 10, Bennett 4 2-2 10, Bezek 4 1-2 12, Melnyk 2 0-0 5, Holsinger 9 1-1 22, Knopp 1 0-0 2, Pellegrino 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 6-9 61.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Bishop Guilfoyle 14 16 19 18–67

Central 18 16 17 10–61

3-point goals: Bishop Guilfoyle 7 (Labriola 4, Ruggery 3); Central Cambria 5 (A. Persio, Bezek 2, Holsinger 2).

Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (14-5, 5-2 LHAC 1); Central Cambria (11-9, 4-5 LHAC 1).

Officials: Chad Walsh, Charlie Fox, Dave Deibert.

JV: Bishop Guilfoyle 60-31. High scorers–Kyle Ruggery, BG, 17; Carter Seymour, CC, 12.

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