It is safe to say the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School boys basketball team has been on a roll.
It had been victorious in its last four ballgames, beating the likes of Central and Bishop McCort since getting doubled up in a loss to the Bishop Carroll Huskies almost two weeks ago.
Make that five straight wins, however, after beating Cambria Heights, 68-53, in a Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference Section 1 action game Friday night at Pleasant Valley Gymnasium.
A reoccurring theme this season for the Marauders has been their struggles from the free-throw line, and Friday was no different. After the Marauders took a 5-4 lead on a jumper by Brandon Drenning, the Highlanders outscored their foe, 8-2, for the rest of the quarter. Bishop Guilfoyle went to the charity stripe six times, making only two of them, allowing for the Highlanders to take a 13-8 lead after eight minutes.
Following layups by Brad Hoppel and Nathan Bearer, a pair of Cambria Heights seniors, Drenning connected from long distance, but the Highlanders answered back immediately with a trey by Dom Milanesi. The Marauders were only able to make two of their four foul shots in two successive possessions, and after Isaac Vescovi made his lone trey of the game, the Highlanders built a 23-13 advantage.
After the Highlanders upped their lead to 11 with just over three minutes remaining in the half, Bishop Guilfoyle went on a 7-0 run in less than two minutes. The Marauders turned up the defensive intensity and forced back-to-back turnovers, which led to easy transition baskets, one by Sam McCloskey and one by Drenning.
When Brandon Chadbourn finished the half with a layup, the Marauders' deficit was down to a much more reasonable number six points.
"We did not start off well tonight and we haven't been getting off to good starts lately," Bishop Guilfoyle coach Chris Drenning said. "We were lucky to be down by six at half. Playing better defensively was the difference."
The third quarter was all Bishop Guilfoyle, outscoring the Highlanders 24-6 in the process. The younger Drenning made two of his game-high six treys in the quarter, while McCloskey and C.J. Fulare both made treys of their own. The Bishop Guilfoyle lead reached a game-high 16 points twice in the fourth quarter, with the first one coming on a trey by Drenning with 3:44 left (61-45), and the second coming with 3:10 left when Zach Patterson made a layup.
Heights coach Eric Nagel knew his Highlanders lost to a very good team.
"Both teams battled," he said. "It was a tough Laurel Highlands league game. They totally outplayed us in the third quarter."
The Marauders (10-2) play at Bellwood-Antis tonight.
"Bellwood's a very, very good team," Drenning said. "It will be fun."
Cambria Heights fell to 8-6 with the loss and have a three-game week ahead of them. It will play Bellefonte Monday, Somerset Wednesday and Westmont-Hilltop Friday.
CAMBRIA HEIGHTS (53: D. Milanesi 2 0-1 5, Bearer 6 6-7 19, Vescovi 6 2-2 15, Hoppel 5 2-3 12, Brawley 1 0-1 2, Strasser 0 0-0 0, Kruise 0 0-0 0, N. Milanesi 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 10-14 53.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE(68): Irwin 1 3-5 5, Rickens 0 2-2 2, Fulare 2 0-2 5, McCloskey 5 2-7 13, Drenning 8M 2-2 24, Patterson 3 0-0 6, Fiore 0 1-2 1, Chadbourn 3 0-0 6, Nardelli 0 0-0 0, Little 0 0-0 0, Kitt 0 0-0 0, Baldessaro 1 0-0 2, Koehle 2 0-0 4, Wolf 0 0-2 0. Totals 25 10-22 68.bo
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Cambria Heights1318616- 53
Bishop Guilfoyle 8172419- 68
3-point field goals: Cambria Heights 3 (Milanesi, Bearer, Vescovi). Bishop Guilfoyle 8 (Drenning 6, Fulare, McCloskey).
Records: Cambria Heights (8-6); Bishop Guilfoyle (10-2).
JV: Bishop Guilfoyle won 53-44. High scorers Bills, CH, 14; Brumbaugh and Fiore, BG, 12.