Marauders close strong in beating Bedford
BEDFORD — Bishop Guilfoyle standout Jessiah Witherspoon was in foul trouble in the third quarter with three fouls.
However, the senior delivered a huge 3-pointer with no time left on the third-quarter clock that helped propel the Marauders into the fourth.
BG used that shot to turn a game that never reached a double-digit margin into a dominating final stanza effort that allowed it to capture the 74-58 Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference win over Bedford on Thursday night.
“It seemed like it went between five and eight (points) the whole third quarter,” Drenning said. “Jessiah had three fouls … I brought him in the game, we called a set play and there’s two options off of it. He (Witherspoon) was the first one, and he made it.”
In a game that was nip-and-tuck from the opening tip, Marauders’ coach Chris Drenning couldn’t afford to not have his point guard on the floor late in the game, so he was forced to sit the senior.
However, with less than 10 seconds to go before the end of the third, Drenning drew up a play with two options and entrusted the ball in WItherspoon’s hands.
The point guard was option No. 1 and he delivered as he took the inbounds pass in the backcourt, and was able to walk right into his shot from 3-point range that splashed through with no time left to turn a five-point contest into a 48-40 BG advantage.
“There were a couple of loose ball situations there in the fourth quarter that they (Bishop Guilfoyle) got,” Bedford coach Jason Ressler said. “They hit some 3-pointers in the fourth that really kind of stretched it out for them a little bit.”
The possession arrow was pointing in Bishop Guilfoyle’s favor, and Cameron Khoza was able to stretch the Marauder lead to double digits (51-40) with a trey of his own from the left corner just 26 seconds into the fourth.
Khoza, who finished with 15 points, canned two more 3-pointers in the final quarter as BG outscored the Bisons by a 26-18 margin.
“Then we came out, and the first possession of the fourth quarter was just us playing our motion offense,” Drenning said. “We got somebody down (inside) and they (Bedford) had to help. We kicked it out to Cam, and he’s a great shooter. So, he made a couple of big ones in the fourth quarter.”
The closest Bedford would get in the final quarter was six (51-45) when Joey Koontz delivered a hoop and Steven Ressler drilled his last of four 3-pointer on the evening immediately following the Khoza trifecta at the start of the fourth.
Witherspoon quickly responded with his final of four treys just 19 seconds later to make the score 54-45 BG with 6:31 to go.
Witherspoon, who tallied a game-high 22 points, added seven in the final frame to assist Khoza in putting Bedford away down the stretch.
“As the game wore on, we kind of got into what we wanted to do. We kind of got into the shots we wanted to take,” Drenning said. “Whereas, early, we were playing too much one-on-one — too much hero stuff.”
Michael Montecalvo, knocked down four 3-pointers and totaled 15 points.
Bedford was led by Steven Ressler’s 21 points as the junior delivered big shot after big shot for the Bisons.
Ressler was along though as three other Bisons reached double figures with Koontz hitting for 14, Drew Hall, who had a four-point play in the fourth, tallied 12 and Mercury Swaim notched 11.
While the Bisons already had two games under the belts, Guilfoyle was behind the ball a bit due to the football team playing into the state championship round.
Bedford came out prepared to battle toe-to-toe with the defending PIAA Class 1A runner-ups as the opening half had four ties and nine lead changes with the largest lead coming from the Marauders at six points at four different times.
“We talked about how we’ve got to play well at home,” Jason Ressler said. “… We were going to come out, we’re going to ball and they did.”
Each time, the Bisons had an answer and were able to stay close. However, the last lead they would hold came when Koontz, who finished with 14 points, completed an and-1 opportunity to put Bedford up 20-17 with 6:09 showing on the second quarter clock.
Montecalvo’s second of two free throws less than a minute later would put BG up for good at 21-20.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (74): Witherspoon 8 2-2 22, Khoza 5 2-2 15, Helton 2 0-0 4, Ruggery 1 4-4 6, Montecalvo 4 3-4 15, Adams 2 0-0 5, Wood 3 0-0 7, Woolridge 0 0-0 0, Haigh 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Kiesewetter 0 0-0 0, Yanoshack 0 0-0 0, Negola 0 0-0 0, Machado 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 11-12 74.
BEDFORD (58): Washington 0 0-0 0, Swaim 3 4-6 11, Ressler 8 1-2 21, Koontz 6 2-5 14, Hall 3 3-5 12, Webber 0 0-0 0, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Wilson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 10-18 58.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Guilfoyle 14 20 14 26 – 74
Bedford 13 15 12 18 – 58
3-point field goals: Bishop Guilfoyle 13 (Witherspoon 4, Montecalvo 4, Khoza 3, Adams 1, Wood 1) ; Bedford 8 (Ressler 4, Hall 3, Swaim 1).
Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (1-0); Bedford (2-1).
Officials: Craig Stahl, Ed Danel, Tony Rullo.
JV: Bishop Guilfoyle won 44-30. High scorers — Patrick Haigh, BG, 13; Kevin Ressler, B, 6. Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (1-0); Bedford (1-2).