Thumbs up on brilliant career: Ruggery leaves impressive legacy at Guilfoyle
HERSHEY — When Bishop Guilfoyle was huddling in its final timeout with 5.2 seconds left down by two points, every person wearing purple in the Giant Center thought Luke Ruggery was going to hit a miraculous game-winning 3-pointer to win the state title.
His clutch fourth quarter against Farrell, and his determination and will to win while bleeding out of his mouth missing a tooth against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart were still fresh in everyone’s minds.
It didn’t work out.
Ruggery slipped against a trap and tried to get the ball to his brother, Kyle, as time expired without BG getting a shot off.
The fact it was so shocking only further cements how much of a heroic image Ruggery has created for himself at Bishop Guilfoyle.
And in true hero form, he fell on the sword after the game, admitting the slip and saying the defense came out in something the Marauders weren’t prepared for, but he owned it.
That will take him far in life.
“They are going to remember you when you give your all,” Ruggery said. “I think that’s what we did. We gave it the best shot we could. We played as hard as we could every single possession and never took a possession off, and I think with us playing that hard, a lot of people will remember that.”
Ruggery finishes his career with 1,507 career points, the most in Bishop Guilfoyle boys basketball history. But his coach Chris Drenning said another stat far outweighs his point total.
“He’s part of 83 wins,” Drenning said. “Coaches know how hard it is to get 20 wins in a 22-game season. He averaged that. He’s a winner, a leader, a great teammate and he’s as tough as nails. He has mental toughness, too. He came into that last huddle and said he wanted the ball.”
Not only was Ruggery the most talented player for the Marauders, he was always serving his role as a leader.
When Math, Civics & Sciences was pressing Bishop Guilfoyle Friday, it was Ruggery who was screaming out to each of his teammates by name to remind them of their responsibilities.
He took it upon himself to not only work on his own skills and make himself better, but help his teammates as well.
“We’re going to miss him a lot, he’s like a brother to us,” BG junior guard Jessiah Witherspoon said. “He brought me in when I was a sophomore, and we worked out every day over the summer. He was like a mentor to me, and there’s going to be a missing piece in my life.”
There will be a missing part for many, but Ruggery’s basketball career will continue at Saint Francis, where he earned a scholarship to play Division I basketball.
“I can’t wait to see him play,” Drenning said. “I’ll be up there every day I can that my schedule allows. He’s a no-risk kid. He’s great in the classroom, great on the court and great off the court. He’ll have a very good career up there.”
Ruggery will have a tough time matching his Bishop Guilfoyle career, though, because that was the stuff of a true legend.
Michael Boytim can be reached at email@example.com or 946-7521