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Marauders cruise into final

EBENSBURG — Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic scored just four points in the first five minutes of Monday’s District 6 Class 2A semifinal game against Penns Manor at Central Cambria High School.

With their shots not falling, the Marauders went to a full-court press.

A two-point deficit with less than 40 seconds to play in the first quarter turned into a five-point lead by the start of the second period. From there, the only question left was if the 40-point mercy rule would kick in as Bishop Guilfoyle began to dominate in an 86-46 win.

“I didn’t think we shot the ball like we can shoot it,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Chris Drenning said. “I was OK with the shots, they just weren’t going in. Sometimes that’s going to happen, but when you don’t shoot the ball, you need your defense to carry you. I kind of thought that’s what happened.”

The Marauders forced Penns Manor into 21 turnovers by halftime and 34 for the game despite playing their junior varsity squad for much of the second half against many of the Comets’ starters.

“We were ready for it, and we knew they were going to do it,” Penns Manor coach Andrew Lansberry said. “We just didn’t handle it well. They are the quickest team we’ve seen all year. It’s not even close. We weren’t ready for that kind of pressure. We have two young guards, and I think those were valuable minutes for those guys, and they’ll get better from this.”

Luke Ruggery scored 17 of his game-high 24 points in the first half and sat out most of the second.

“We got some turnovers that turned into layups,” Drenning said. “They see the ball go through the hoop and relax, and then they start playing better.”

Bishop Guilfoyle will play second-seeded West Branch, a 57-51 winner over Bishop McCort Monday in the other semifinal, in the district championship game on Thursday at Mount Aloysius at 7:30 p.m.

“You set goals at the beginning of the year,” Drenning said. “Win your league, win your district and then go as far as you can. I think it’s been like since 1991-1992 since it’s been done back-to-back at Guilfoyle, so we’re excited for the opportunity.”

Twelve of the 17 Marauders who played Monday scored in the game. Jessiah Witherspoon finished with 12 points, and Kyle Ruggery scored 11.

Witherspoon, normally a starter for Bishop Guilfoyle, came off the bench in favor of the bigger Andrew Yanoshak, who helped offset some of the Comets’ size inside.

“Andrew is a football player,” Drenning said. “He was slow to come around at the beginning, but he’s really improved. He’s got tremendous hands, he’s strong, he’s good at positioning and he’s gotten better and better around the basket. He gives us a little bit more of a physical presence than some of the other guys.”

Garrett Grimaldi led Penns Manor with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Comets will play Bishop McCort in a consolation game, but all four teams that made the semifinals have already qualified for the PIAA playoffs.

PENNS MANOR (46): Baum 3 0-0 6, D. Lieb 4 0-4 8, Hamilton 4 3-6 12, Grimaldi 5 5-6 15, Baird 0 1-5 1, Hill 0 0-0 0, Lightner 1 0-0 2, L. Lieb 0 0-0 0, Chiodini 0 0-0 0, Kohan 0 0-0 0, Hays 1 0-0 2. Totals — 18 9-21 46.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (86): L. Ruggery 9 3-4 24, Helton 2 0-0 5, K. Ruggery 4 1-2 11, Yanoshak 1 0-0 2, Montecalvo 3 0-0 6, Witherspoon 5 2-4 12, Kenner 0 1-2 1, Woolridge 0 0-0 0, Smith 3 0-0 6, Negola 2 0-0 5, Kiesewetter 2 2-2 6, Wood 0 0-0 0, Adams 1 4-4 6, Johnston 0 0-0 0, Machado 1 0-0 2, Wandersee 0 0-0 0, Welteroth 0 0-0 0. Totals — 33 13-18 86.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Penns Manor 11 6 11 18 — 46

Bishop Guilfoyle 16 29 18 21 — 86

3-point goals: Penns Manor 1 (Hamilton); Bishop Guilfoyle 7 (L. Ruggery 3, K. Ruggery 2, Helton, Negola)

Officials: Cliff Kitner, Colin McGinnis, Bill Holtz

Records: Penns Manor (14-10); Bishop Guilfoyle (22-2).

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