BG rolls in opener
LORETTO — The Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School Marauders have a high-powered offense that is predicated on a fast-paced, up-tempo transition game, excellent outside shooting and balanced scoring contributions from several different players.
It’s an explosive attack indeed, and the Marauders provided the latest example of just how explosive in a PIAA Class 2A first-round playoff game early Saturday evening.
Led by senior guard Luke Ruggery’s 34 points, Bishop Guilfoyle hit the century mark in a game for the first time in anybody’s recent memory, rolling to a 100-64 rout of Sto-Rox at Saint Francis University’s DeGol Arena.
BG rode 17 three-point field goals, including nine by Ruggery, to the victory, which advanced the Marauders into the second round of the state tournament Wednesday against Coudersport at a site and time to be determined.
“We shot it very well,” said BG coach Chris Drenning, whose team improved to 24-2. “We have a lot of guys who can shoot, and that covers up a lot of problems when you can do that.”
Trailing, 21-19 late in the first quarter, BG took command with a 17-point run that extended into the second quarter and staked the Marauders to a 36-21 lead.
Leading, 27-21 after one period, BG dominated the second quarter, 32-11, to take a 59-32 halftime advantage.
“I wasn’t happy at the end of the first quarter,” Drenning said. “I thought we gave up too many points. But we tightened up defensively at the end of the first quarter, and I thought that our pace had an effect, too. We got up and down the floor, we started getting some breakaway layups, and things snowballed a bit.”
Along with Ruggery’s 34 points, junior forward Will Helton added 22, junior guard Jessiah Witherspoon chipped in 18, and Ruggery’s younger brother, junior guard Kyle, scored 11.
“We’ve had pretty good balance all year,” Drenning said. “One of our biggest strengths has been the number of our guys who can make shots. That makes us difficult to guard.”
BG laid claim to Saturday’s game with the 17-point first-half run. Luke Ruggery — a Saint Francis University basketball commit and the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Bishop Guilfoyle boys basketball program — started the rally by hitting a 3-pointer from the right side to give the Marauders a 22-21 lead.
Luke Ruggery followed with another 3-pointer from the right side, before sophomore forward Andrew Yanoshak chipped in a tap-in before the first-quarter buzzer, to put BG ahead, 27-21.
The Marauders reeled off nine straight points to begin the second quarter, with Helton hitting a 3-pointer from the left corner, junior guard Michael Montecalvo and Witherspoon scoring fast-break layups, and Kyle Ruggery hitting a pair of free throws.
Kyle Ruggery scored all 11 of his points in the second quarter as the Marauders ran away and hid before the intermission.
“In the first quarter, we played really well, we had a good tempo going,” said Sto-Rox coach Ryan Hughes, whose team finished the season with a 14-11 record. “They went on a nice little run at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, and we struggled coming back from there.”
Along with its emphasis on the running game, the BG team is skilled at rotating the ball to different players and getting open looks.
“I think it really starts with our ball movement,” Luke Ruggery said. “We’ve really learned how to work the ball and find out where the extra pass is, and get the open 3 (-point shot).”
Helton also agreed that ball movement is a vital part of the Marauders’ attack.
“We’ve had balanced scoring from our starting five, and when we’re passing the ball well, that normally works in our favor,” Helton said. “We started out really slow today, but we got into our game and all of us shot the ball really well.”
Junior guard Jamal Williams scored a game-high 28 points for Sto-Rox, while junior guard Jamil Williams added 10. Senior forward Dre Frenzley grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds for the Vikings.
BG has now won its first-round PIAA playoff game three years in a row.
“To stay alive in the state tournament is an exciting feeling,” Luke Ruggery said. “I love my teammates, I love my coaches. This is a great atmosphere.”
STO-ROX (64): Jamal Williams 9 5-6 28, Jamil Williams 4 2-3 10, Nelson 3 2-4 8, Wilson 1 0-0 3, Franzley 3 0-2 6, Berry 1 0-0 2, Johnson 2 2-2 7, Upshaw 0 0-0 0. Totals — 23 11-17 64.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (100): L, Ruggery 11 3-5 34, K. Ruggery 3 3-4 11, Montecalvo 3 0-0 7, Witherspoon 7 3-3 18, Helton 9 0-0 22, Yanoshak 2 0-3 4, Kenner 0 2-2 2, Smith 0 0-0 0, Negola 0 2-3 2, Woolridge 0 0-0 0, Kiesewetter 0 0-0 0. Totals — 35 13-20 100.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Sto-Rox 21 11 15 17 — 64
Bishop Guilfoyle 27 32 18 23 — 100
3-point goals: Sto-Rox 7 (Jamal Williams 5, Wilson, Johnson); Bishop Guilfoyle 17 (L. Ruggery 9, Helton 4, K. Ruggery 2, Montecalvo, Witherspoon).
Records: Sto-Rox (14-11); Bishop Guilfoyle (24-2).
Officials: Frank Garritano, Chuck Glasser, Keith Fry.