Marauders beaten at the buzzer
By Philip Cmor
LORETTO — Considering the phenomenal way Bishop Guilfoyle shot the ball from behind the arc, it was only fitting Friday night’s District 6 Class 2A boys basketball championship game came down to a 3-pointer.
Unfortunately for the Marauders, that trey came off the fingertips of Bishop McCort junior Imil Britt.
Guilfoyle erased a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit when A.J. Labriola converted a fast-break layup in the final half-minute to tie the game. The 5-foot-5 Britt, though, turned out to be the man of the moment, coming off a screen and draining one from very deep with 1.1 seconds on the clock to hand the Crimson Crushers the D6 trophy with a 63-60 win over the shellshocked Marauders at Saint Francis University’s DeGol Arena.
“We played good D. He stepped back and made a 26-footer. Give him all the credit in the world,” said Guilfoyle coach Chris Drenning after his Marauders slipped to 17-7 on the season despite getting 22 points from Luke Ruggery, 14 from Josh Trybus and 12-of-26 3-point shooting as a team. “I thought our guys played really hard.
“It’s just a tough deal. I’ve been on both ends of that. I won one like that (against Bishop Carroll in the 2013 D6-Class 1A final).”
The Marauders were in a back-and-forth affair with a top-seeded Crusher team they had defeated by double figures late in the regular season, but McCort got the upper hand largely thanks to a 38-26 rebounding edge and 18 offensive boards and went ahead 51-41 with 4:40 left.
Guilfoyle, though, didn’t give up. Trybus, Ruggery and even all-state linebacker-turned-reserve-forward Andrew Irwin sank 3s to put the Marauders in position to tie it at 60 on a half-court steal that was passed up ahead to Labriola streaking in for a layup.
McCort, though, didn’t call timeout and let Britt handle things. Guilfoyle never even had enough time to inbound after Britt’s shot swished clean.
“I was thinking when A.J. hit that layup that we were playing really hard. It took a lot to come back from that 10-point lead. It was just too quick, too quick,” Ruggery said. “People are going to make shots, though.”
Britt hadn’t made a 3-pointer in the game before the final shot, but he said he knew it was good when it left his hand.
“I was really feeling that shot. I was really feeling that shot,” Britt said, also giving his teammates credit for sticking together and sticking to the gameplan despite being down by nine in the early going. “That shot was amazing. I was amazed. I had it. I had it. I saw it right off the wrist.”
McCort coach Jerry Murphy said that’s the third time Britt has made nearly the same shot to win games in two years. The Crushers also got 16 points from Logan Kasper and 10 from Matt Petrosky to improve to 21-4 and win their first district title in five years.
“I don’t think you can make a bigger shot,” Murphy said. “This is better than when I played, to see them work so hard and to come together.”
Making it harder to take for the Marauders was how well they played, aside from the problems on the defensive glass. Labriola added 11 points for BG.
This was Guilfoyle’s first district final appearance since falling to Carroll in the 2014 Class 1A title game, but the Marauders were unfazed by the big stage. Ruggery, just a sophomore, made six 3-pointers, while Trybus had four.
“I think it was the atmosphere. I think being in that big game really helps us play better,” Ruggery said.
Guilfoyle was 5-for-12 from 3-point range in the first half and led by as many as nine. McCort, though, countered with a full-court press that forced a couple of turnovers and raised the tempo — Britt’s acrobatic bank shot in the final minute of the second quarter for his eighth and ninth points of the period had the Marauders down one at the half.
McCort led by three entering the fourth quarter, but Ruggery quickly erased that with a trey that knotted things at 41 before the Crushers ran off the next 10 points.
Guilfoyle will try to bounce back next Saturday when it faces the loser of today’s District 5 championship game — either McConnellsburg or Berlin Brothersvalley — in the opening round of the PIAA tournament at a District 6 site.
“The goal was definitely to win the district championship, but we have another goal: to win some games in the state,” Trybus said. “I think we have a good shot this year.”
It was a tough week personally for Drenning, whose father-in-law, Richard Carnicella, passed away on Monday. Drenning thanked his players for helping make the last few days go as smoothly as could be expected and said he was disappointed he couldn’t get the win for them and his wife’s dad — he carried a small, gold basketball in his pocket that the family found in Carnicella’s belongings.
“I thought it was an omen,” Drenning said. “I thought it might make that last one go off the rim. But it didn’t work out.”
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (60): Trybus 5 0-0 14, L. Ruggery 6 4-5 22, Labriola 5 0-0 11, Scaramozzino 2 0-0 4, Frederick 2 0-0 4, Irwin 2 0-0 5, Charlton 0 0-0 0. Totals — 22 4-5 60.
BISHOP MCCORT (63): Britt 7 4-5 19, Nash 3 1-3 7, Kasper 6 2-4 16, Petrosky 4 2-2 10, Vitovich 1 1-2 3, Seidel 1 0-0 2, Conahan 2 1-1 6. Totals — 24 11-17 63.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Guilfoyle 13 16 9 22–60
Bishop McCort 12 18 11 23–63
3-point goals: Bishop Guilfoyle 12 (L. Ruggery 6, Trybus 4, Labriola, Irwin); Bishop McCort 4 (Conahan, Kasper 2, Britt).
Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (17-6); Bishop McCort (20-4).
Officials: Tom Fontaine, Rich Gergely, Todd Parker.