Matheson has career night as Ridgway blows out Sheffield
Sheffield scored 44 points in Friday night's game. Ridgway point guard Eric Matheson had almost as many by himself. Matheson scored a career-high 38 points as the Elkers won 76-44 over Sheffield. "Some nights you just feel like everything's going in," Matheson said. "This was one of those nights. It didn't matter where I was on the court, it just felt like it was going in." Matheson hit seven 3-pointers on the game and started quickly with 15 first-quarter points and four treys in the first eight minutes. "We came out fast, that's all you can ask for," Matheson said. "Normally, we haven't been shooting good to start the game, finally, we started shooting the shots well. We played our defense, that always gets us going. We can always play defense but the shots aren't always going to be there." Ridgway coach Anthony Allegretto said he knew there would be a big night for Matheson at some point in the season. "You knew it was going to happen," Allegretto said. "It didn't happen last year. The year before, he had a couple of them. Last year, he wouldn't pull the trigger enough. This year, he knows especially when we face a zone that he's got to be one of the guys to pull the trigger."His first points came as he drove the baseline for a layup with 5:40 left in the first half to put the Elkers ahead 6-0. After Mark Sprandle hit a 3-pointer for Sheffield, Matheson added a free throw and his first trey of the ballgame for a 10-3 lead near the midpoint of the first quarter. He hit his second 3-pointer moments later after Kalil Slaughter knocked in a short shot. A Slaughter layup was followed by Matheson's third 3-pointer of the quarter as Ridgway led 16-7 with 90 seconds left in the first quarter. After a Josh Mitchell layup for Ridgway, Matheson knocked in a fourth 3-pointer with with 51 seconds left for a 21-7 lead. A Sprandle trey put Sheffield within 11 at 21-10 at the end of the first quarter. "A lot of zones are pushing out on us so we can't get the outside shot," Matheson said. "But they were packing it in to protect the drive. Coach says to shoot when I'm open and I hit a couple shots." Nick Bonavita opened the second quarter with a field goal for Sheffield before Matheson hit a 3-pointer and a transition layup to open the lead to 26-12. Jordan Lundin nailed a 3-pointer and Aaron Sorge put in a 2-pointer to up the lead to 31-12. Lundin had three 3-pointers and a 17-point night. "He (Matheson) and Jordan are the two main seniors, the guys that led this team last year, they took this team and said 'Get on our backs.' Everybody else had two, four, six points," Allegretto said. "(Aaron) Sorge and Jesse Reynolds played great defense. The post players worked on the boards because that team likes to rebound."Allegretto said Lundin has been a player who has had strong shooting performances recently. "Jordan's been shooting the ball with confidence," Allegretto said. "He and Aaron Sorge along with Jesse work so hard at the guard position. Jordan does a little bit of both, he's inside and outside, he guards bigs, he guards littles, he's a great part of this team. It was nice to see him shoot the ball well too and have a good game too." Slaughter and Jesse Reynolds traded hoops twice to leave the margin at 35-18 before a 5-0 spurt by the Elkers had the lead up to 40-18. Ike Nearing hit three free throws for Sheffield's last points of the half as Ridgway held a 41-21 lead. Matheson had 25 points at the half. "The second quarter, I looked at coach (Jim) Herzing and said 'We may be seeing something special,'" Allegretto said. The Elkers put the game out of reach in the third quarter with a quick 12-0 run. Lundin had a steal and a layup on the half's initial possession, Matheson and Reynolds each added quick hoops for Ridgway and Lundin added a basket. A Lundin trey upped the lead to 31 and an Alex Oknefski free throw put the lead at 53-21. Matheson buried his sixth trey of the game late in the third quarter to make the score 58-23. His seventh 3-pointer came with just under three minutes left in the fourth quarter as the Elkers held more than a 30-point lead for the last eight minutes. Allegretto said Matheson's shot at a potential 40-point night was a reason he was in the game late with the outcome already decided. "We don't want to act like we were running up the score," Allegretto said. "(Sheffeld) Coach (George) Fitch is a great guy, I played against him in high school. He does a great job, that's a good team that we played there. They don't match up well against us and basketball is all about matchups. We'll possibly see them down the road in the playoffs." Ridgway (18-0) is at Johnsonburg (14-3) Tuesday night with junior varsity action to begin at 6 p.m.