Ridgway boys basketball used a second-quarter run to break a tie after eight minutes as the Elkers went on to a 53-40 win over Brockway Monday night at Ridgway Area High School.
The win puts Ridgway at 16-0 overall and a perfect 6-0 in the AML South, winning the division. The win also means DuBois Central Catholic will finish as the division runner-up. DCC went into Monday with a 3-2 AML South record.
After a 6-all first quarter, Ridgway capitalized on second-chance points to build the lead. Alex Oknefski had two field goals off missed shots to put Ridgway up 10-6. After Jordan Lundin sunk two free throws, Jesse Reynolds also added a 2-pointer with a second-chance shot. Lundin finished with eight points, Reynolds tallied five.
A field goal from Eric Matheson and a free throw from Reynolds put Ridgway up 17-6 near the halfway point of the second quarter as Ridgway completed an 11-0 run.
Ridgway coach Anthony Allegretto said Ridgway had some steals which turned into easy points and spoke about the adjustments the Elkers have made with the full-court press as the season has progressed.
"The kids are getting more patient with the press and not gambling," Allegretto said. "Early in the season, it was pressing all over the place and gambling. Sometimes, that leaves both teams in the game. We got some steals and made some shots but we also cheat up where we give long passes so we're getting better at that. Sometimes we'll allow the other team to walk the ball up the court and a little less gambling. Sooner or later, we get some deflections hopefully and when we get the deflections we get a quick pass and a layup. When that happens a couple of times, we get excited, we get some energy."
A field goal by Fabio Fortunato of Brockway broke the Rover scoring drought but Ridgway came back as Tony Leithner had four points sandwiched around a Matheson bucket. An Aaron Sorge hoop burst the lead to 25-8 and a Leithner layup had Ridgway up 27-8, completing a 21-2 stretch in Ridgway's favor. A Fortunato trey closed the half and made the margin 27-11 at halftime. Fortunato led Brockway with 14 points.
"The second quarter, we started getting the turnovers and we scored six or eight straight points," Allegretto said. "Another little spurt of six or eight points and we had it up to 16."
Fortunato opened the second half with a bucket. The two teams traded hoops and a Fortunato 3-pointer had the Rovers within 11 at 29-18 with 5:38 remaining.
Ridgway would begin to squash hopes of a Brockway comeback with a 9-0 run to extend the lead back to 20. Matheson drained a 3-pointer and Reynolds followed a hoop of his own. A Lundin field goal followed with two Matheson free throws had the margin to 38-18. Kyle Braun and Matheson traded field goals and a Matheson 3-point play highlighted the latter stages of the third quarter as Ridgway held a 45-26 lead entering the final eight minutes. Matheson went coast-to-coast on the layup and Allegretto noticed the increased intensity from the Ridgway senior point guard in the third quarter.
"The third quarter, it looked like he got mad at something," Allegretto said. "He went into another gear and that's what Eric has. He can turn it up a notch. When he went coast-to-coast, I don't think anybody expected to see the speed that he had. It was fun to watch him play like that."
Matheson finished with 16 points on the game, 10 in the second half.
"We wanted to be patient attacking the zone," Allegretto said. "We wanted to get a little more movement than we had in the first half. We wanted to get the ball inside to Josh Mitchell and Tony when they were in there. We wanted to get the ball to the baseline."
Brockway (6-10 overall, 2-4 AML South) never seriously threatened a comeback in the fourth quarter as Ridgway built a 51-30 lead with three minutes left. A late push by the Rovers had the final margin down to 13 as the Elkers finished with 10 players in the scorebook.
Lundin opened the scoring with two free throws in the first minute for Ridgway. Matheson followed with a steal and a layup for a 4-0 lead. Then came a long offensive drought on both sides as the score was struck on 4-0 for over three minutes. A field goal from Brockway senior Jake Rogos put the Rovers on the board and Levi Miller added a layup with 2:26 left to tie the game at 4-all.
Matheson fed Josh Mitchell for an easy basket but Brockway tied the game with 45 seconds left as Fortunato hit a jumper from the free throw line.
"The first quarter, we played alright," Allegretto said. "Brockway is well-coached in playing the 2-3. They were very patient in what they did defensively, they weren't doing a lot of gambling. I thought we had some good shots that didn't go down. We had some shots inside that we missed the layups and such. We had two or three early 3-points that didn't go down. We didn't get a lot of turnovers. Brockway did a nice job breaking the press. When we did get the turnovers, we missed the layups."
NOTES: Ridgway celebrated the Little Elkers at halftime as the young basketball players demonstrated their skills.