On to the Elite Eight: Marauders take out Coudersport on playoff path
DuBOIS — Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic didn’t score 100 points like it did in its last state playoff victory.
But runs of 11-0 and 14-4 in mere minutes spread between the second and third quarter proved to be just as devastating in a 77-65 victory over Coudersport in the second round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs Wednesday at DuBois Area High School.
The win clinched a Marauders berth in the PIAA quarterfinals for the first time since 1997.
“It feels great,” Bishop Guilfoyle senior point guard Luke Ruggery said. “We work really hard day in and day out. We’ve been working for this all year, and to get this far in the state bracket, it feels amazing.”
The Marauders will play Farrell, a 70-64 winner over Serra Catholic, on Saturday for the chance to make the PIAA semifinals.
“We have a really good group, and we’re glad to be able to continue to play,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Chris Drenning said. “We know we have a really tough game next, but we’re happy to keep playing. We’re playing in the final week of the season, and at the start of every year, that’s every team’s goal.”
The first Marauders run started with a pair of Andrew Yanoshak layups with BG up just one. Kyle Ruggery followed with a 3-pointer, and Will Helton scored on a pair of layups to close out the half.
“We turned the ball over a lot in the first half,” Coudersport coach Brian Furman said. “At the end of the first half, they had a run to pull away, and a lot of that was off our turnovers.”
The second run early in the third quarter was fueled primarily by Jessiah Witherspoon, who began the run with a four-point play and scored 11 of the 14 points.
“(Witherspoon) is great,” Ruggery said. “He can really move, get to the rim and shoot. He’s solid all around, and when he gets hot like that, we just have to get him the ball.”
The junior guard did not start last season and played sparingly off the bench. He finished Wednesday’s game with 21 points.
“He’s worked so hard on his jump shot,” Drenning said. “He’s so good at getting to the rim, and he’s improved so much. His jumper has become a weapon. When he gets going, he can be fantastic.”
Witherspoon isn’t the only Marauder who has improved drastically this season. Bishop Guilfoyle began the year with five new starters as Luke Ruggery, who led BG with 22 points Wednesday, recovered from an injury.
“We had to play without Luke early in the season,” Drenning said. “Ironically, I think that helped some of the other guys. We weren’t sure what to expect. Forest Hills, Richland, Bishop Carroll, those are teams we played and beat without him that had great seasons, and that really helped our guys.”
The Marauders forced 17 turnovers in the first half to build their lead and help offset a rebounding disadvantage.
Coudersport’s Owen Chambers led all scorers with 30 points and became District 9’s all-time leading scorer, finishing his career with 2,269 points, 12 ahead of the previous mark. Hayden Keck added 20 points for the Falcons.
“It means a lot,” Chambers said. “It’s definitely a team record, because without my teammates the past few years, I wouldn’t be up there at all.”
Bishop Guilfoyle finished with 12 3-pointers.
“From the third quarter to the middle of the fourth quarter, I thought we played great,” Drenning said. “We took great shots, got the ball to guys who can make shots, and they knocked them down and got us some separation.”
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (77): L. Ruggery 7 3-4 22, K. Ruggery 2 2-2 8, Montecalvo 2 5-6 9, Helton 4 2-2 11, Witherspoon 7 3-6 21, Yanoshak 3 0-0 6. Totals — 25 15-20 77
COUDERSPORT (65): Frame 0 0-2 0, Chambers 9 10-11 30, Keck 7 2-2 20, VanWhy 2 2-2 6, Keglovits 1 0-0 3, Gleason 3 0-3 6, Easton 0 0-0 0. Totals — 22 14-20 65
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Guilfoyle 12 22 26 17 — 77
Coudersport 8 14 18 25 — 65
3-point goals: Bishop Guilfoyle 12 (L. Ruggery 5, Witherspoon 4, K. Ruggery 2, Helton); Coudersport 7 (Keck 4, Chambers 2, Keglovits)
Officials: Steve Hopkins, John Zimbardi, Kevin Teribery
Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (25-2); Coudersport (22-3)