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No matter the foe, Marauders heading for finals

Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic coach Chris Drenning went to bed Wednesday night thinking his Marauders would host Richland in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference semifinals Thursday.

But, when Drenning awoke Thursday morning, he was told to put away the Richland film because Bedford was now coming to town for the LHAC playoff game.

No matter.

After a quick walk through at the Pleasant Valley gymnasium, the Marauders, using a 3-2 zone, took care of Bedford, 73-52, to advance to the LHAC championship game against Greater Johnstown, which trimmed Westmont Hilltop, 82-72, Thursday.

The BG-Johnstown game will be played at 8 p.m. Saturday at Bishop Carroll in Ebensburg.

“Johnstown is very good and they’ll be ready,” Drenning said. “I’m sure we will be too.

“You can’t win it until you get there,” Drenning said of the LHAC title. “The ultimate goal for every team is to win it and we’re very happy because this is our fifth year in a row (in the finals). We lost the first two at the buzzer and won the last two.”

But, back to Thursday. How did Bedford get into the semis against BG instead of Richland?

Richland beat Westmont on the court Wednesday but was forced to forfeit the win because its coach, Greg Burke, was ejected from the jayvee game after being assessed two technical fouls. Burke then coached Richland in the varsity game but, due to a misinterpretation of PIAA rules, was ineligible to do so and thus the forfeit.

BG beat Bedford twice in the regular season and rolled again Thursday in a game marred by an injury to Bison player Drew Hall. After colliding with a BG player, Hall fell to the ground and was attended to for several minutes until AMED arrived and transported him to a local hospital.

After the long delay and then a short warmup by both teams, the game resumed with 5:38 left in the third quarter and BG romped to the finish as Drenning cleared his bench.

BG again played without starters Jessiah Witherspoon and Cam Khoza. Witherspoon has missed several games and Khoza has been ill.

The Marauders connected on 14 3-point goals as Kyle Ruggery pumped in 23 points to lead the way. Michael Montecalvo tallied 13, Will Helton 12 and Alex Wood 11.

“With the health situation, the blessing in disguise has been that we’ve had to play some guys for a number of games now in tough situations,” Drenning noted, “and that’s really helped our depth.

“We’ve had to play some guys in different spots and they’ve really responded,” Drenning said. “All of our bench guys have been really good.”

“We missed some shots in the first quarter that we normally hit and then the game just kind of slipped away from us,” Bedford coach Jason Ressler said.

Kyle Ruggery tallied six points as BG bolted to a 13-6 lead in the first quarter. In the second, Michael Montecalvo pumped in 13 — including three 3’s — as the Marauders built a 36-23 advantage at the half.

It was Ruggery in the third quarter, this time scoring 12, as BG ran its margin to 54-33.

“They’re a great shooting team,” Ressler said of BG. “When you have five guys who can score … that’s where we’d like to be.

“The injury (to Hall) really put us behind the 8-ball,” Ressler noted. “Drew is one of our main scoring threats and it was tough after that.”

“I think everybody was just concerned for (Hall),” Drenning said. “Nobody ever wants to see something like that. He ran into a pick and didn’t know it was there.

“The rest of the game us kinda like anticlimactic,” Drenning added.

Ressler said he was notified about Thursday’s game at 11:30 a.m. He said he witnessed the Richland-Westmont game Wednesday.

“I knew there was talk (about us playing) but you never count on it,” he said. “This was actually a bonus for us and I wish we would have played better, but we never got untracked.”

Game notes: After the LHAC title game, BG will go into the District 6 Class 2A playoffs. … Drenning said the Marauders will play their first game next Thursday at 7 p.m. at home.

BEDFORD (52): S. Ressler 4 0-0 8, Hall 2 2-2 8, Miles Washington 1 0-2 2, Swaim 2 0-0 6, Koontz 2 2-2 6, Weber 1 0-0 2, Ebersole 0 0-0 0, Anderson 0 1-2 1, K. Ressler 4 0-0 12, Max Washington 3 0-1 7. Totals — 19 5-9 52.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (73): Helton 4 0-0 12, Montecalvo 4 2-2 13, Ruggery 10 0-1 23, Haigh 2 0-0 5, Wood 4 1-1 11, Adams 0 0-0 0, Woolridge 1 1-2 3, Kiesewetter 1 0-0 3, Yanoshak 1 1-1 3, Smith 0 0-0 0, Machado 0 0-0 0, Negola 0 0-0 0. Totals — 27 5-7 73.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Bedford 6 17 10 19 — 52

Bishop Guilfoyle 13 23 18 19 — 73

3-point goals: Bedford 9 (K. Ressler 4, Hall 2, Miles Washington 2, Max Washington 1); Bishop Guilfoyle 14 (Helton 4, Montecalvo 3, Ruggery 3, Wood 2, Kiesewetter, Haigh).

Officials: Randy Burkett, Bill Pfeffer, Kevin Laird.

Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (20-2).

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