Marauders turn up the defense when it matters
By John Hartsock
Offense may put fans in the seats, but it’s defense that often wins games and championships.
The Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic Marauders amped up their defensive play in a pivotal third quarter Friday night, turning defense into offense on numerous occasions en route to a 61-53 Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference victory over Bedford at the Pleasant Valley gymnasium.
BG — which overcame a pair of nine-point first-half deficits to forge a 28-28 halftime tie on junior Patrick Haigh’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer — carried the third quarter, 19-7 to build a 47-35 lead after three stops.
Haigh scored a game-high 32 points for BG, including 11 in the decisive third quarter.
“Give Bedford a lot of credit — they came out and played very well,” said BG coach Chris Drenning, whose team improved to 7-2 overall and 6-1 in the conference. “We weren’t taking bad shots in the first half, but we just weren’t making many.
“I thought all of our players played really well on defense in the second half,” Drenning added. “We did a much better job of communicating out there. As a team, your defense can certainly carry you, and tonight, our defense had to, because other than Patrick, our offense was rather sluggish.”
After junior guard Kevin Ressler, who led Bedford with 16 points, hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to put the Bisons ahead, 31-28 to start the second half, BG took control of the game.
Junior Karson Kiesewetter scored from the paint to pull BG to within 31-30, and the Marauders took their first lead of the game, 32-31 on a Haigh steal and pull-up jumper.
Senior Jayce Hettinger and Kiesewetter both hit two of two free throws to put BG ahead, 36-31 before junior Ethan Weber, who had 10 points for Bedford, scored a field goal to make it a 36-33 game.
Haigh’s younger brother, Jude, hit a turnaround jumper from the key for BG before Weber scored another field goal to pull Bedford to within 38-35.
BG closed the quarter strong, however, reeling off the next nine points — all by Patrick Haigh — for the 47-35 advantage.
Patrick Haigh got the ball rolling with a 3-pointer, then scored a field goal off an inbounds assist. After hitting a pair of free throws, Patrick Haigh scored the final points of the quarter on a putback.
“I thought we started to play with some intensity on defense in the second half,” Patrick Haigh said. “We got a couple steals, we got some stops, and we turned our defense into a nice little run that helped us to get some separation.”
Bedford whittled BG’s lead to six points twice as time wound down in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer.
The third quarter proved to be the difference.
“I thought our guys played hard, but we started the third quarter with three turnovers in three trips down the floor,” said Bedford coach Jason Ressler, whose team dropped to 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the conference. “You have to keep pace with BG, because they have so many weapons.
“At the start of the third quarter, we had some turnovers that got us behind, and you can’t afford to get behind against a team like they have.”
Game notes: BG made 20 of 39 floor shots for a 51.2 percent clip, while Bedford converted 21 of 46 for 45.6 percent … Bedford outrebounded the Marauders, 23-20, with Weber grabbing seven for the Bisons. Kiesewetter led BG with seven … Weather permitting, BG is scheduled to host conference opponent Richland Monday night, but a winter storm is being forecast for this area for Sunday night into Monday.
BEDFORD (53): Swaim 4 0-0 9, Ressler 6 0-0 16, Weber 5 0-0 10, Washington 1 0-0 2, Vent 2 5-8 9, Hylton 3 0-0 6, Arnold 0 1-2 1, Weyandt 0 0-0 0. Totals – 21 6-10 53.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (61): P. Haigh 13 2-2 32, J. Haigh 2 4-6 8, Kiesewetter 3 3-5 9, Woolridge 1 2-2 4, Hettinger 1 4-4 7, Beauchamp 0 1-3 1, Trev. Rehm 0 0-0 0, Ruggery 0 0-0 0, Foor 0 0-0 0. Totals – 20 16-22 61.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bedford 11 17 7 18–53
Bishop Guilfoyle 7 21 19 14–61
3-point goals: Bedford 5 (Ressler 4, Swaim); Bishop Guilfoyle 5 (P. Haigh 4, Hettinger).
Records: Bedford (5-5 overall, 3-4 in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference); Bishop Guilfoyle (7-2, 5-1).
JV: Bishop Guilfoyle, 62-55. High scorers–Dathan Hylton, BED, 17; Nick Foor and Chase Kissel, BG, 13 apiece.