Ridge girls’ win one of several surprises so far
A recent basketball score resulted in a couple of calls to the office asking if the Mirror may have had the score reversed when the Chestnut Ridge girls defeated Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic, 52-51, on Jan. 9.
The score was correct and is just one of many surprises so far this basketball season as we’ve passed the halfway point of the regular season.
The Lady Marauders got off to a slow start under first-year coach Kristi Kaack but had started to get on a roll with impressive victories over Mountain League-leading Penns Valley and at defending District 6 Class 2A champion Bishop McCort.
That made the loss to the Lady Lions, whose only other victory at that point was in overtime against one-win Richland, even harder to believe.
Bishop Guilfoyle quickly rebounded with an impressive win over Penn Cambria, but hopefully a signature win by second-year coach Kelsey Mearkle will help Chestnut Ridge get moving in the right direction.
Here are some other surprises from so far this year.
B-A boys’ inconsistency
When the Bellwood-Antis boys opened the season with a 63-18 loss to rival Tyrone, it looked like it might be a long season for the Blue Devils.
In some ways, it has been.
Bellwood also suffered a rare loss to Glendale and got hammered again by the Golden Eagles, 77-27.
But sandwiched in between those games, the Blue Devils knocked off defending District 6 Class 5A champion Hollidaysburg in overtime and then handed Juniata Valley its first loss in the Inter-County Conference’s North Division in more than a year. The win over the Green Hornets came without leading scorer Mason Yingling, who missed the game due to a sickness.
C-K girls impress
Two years ago, when Claysburg-Kimmel’s Emily Claar was a sophomore and Juniata Valley’s Halee Smith and Bellwood-Antis’ Alli Campbell were freshmen, it seemed as though those three players would have plenty of exciting battles in ICC North play.
However, Claar’s supporting cast never really developed until this season while Smith and Campbell led their teams to state championship appearances.
The Lady Bulldogs came up short in their first two games against JV and B-A this year, but both games were thrillers. Claysburg lost to the Lady Hornets, 52-48, at home and had a 12-point lead over Bellwood before losing by two in a crazy sequence at the end of their game last week.
Equally stunning, however, was the rematch against Juniata Valley last week in which C-K lost, 55-8.
Though the District 6 Class 2A field is loaded, the Lady Bulldogs are now a contender in that group despite last week’s setback.
When the Bishop Guilfoyle boys team opened the season with a road victory against Saint Joseph’s, the District 6 Class 1A runner-up a year ago, it wasn’t that shocking — until you consider the fact that Saint Francis commit Luke Ruggery didn’t play.
Ruggery, expected to carry the load for the Marauders while his inexperienced team developed, missed the first part of the season with an injury and is just now starting to find his scoring groove.
It didn’t stop the Marauders from recording impressive wins at Richland and over Bishop Carroll. Meanwhile, Ruggery’s younger brother, Kyle, has become a major scoring threat along with fellow junior Jessiah Witherspoon.
The controversy surrounding Bob Gongloff’s tenure at Bishop Carroll has seemingly been worked out, as an outside investigation led to his reinstatement as head coach of the girls program.
However, he returned with four less players.
District 6 approved the transfers of Abigail Baker and Jade Snedden from BC to Cambria Heights and Emily Marines and Maria McConnell to Blacklick Valley. All four were deemed eligible for postseason play by District 6 after a 13-0-1 vote.
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