Eisenhower 8 8 8 8 – 32
Ridgway 12 15 15 20 – 62
Eisenhower – 32
Jarett Johnson 4 1-2 9, Tre Frank 2 2-4 7, Kyle Hunt 2 0-0 4, Chris Sanders 2 0-0 4, Carter Farrell 1 1-4 3, Thomas Warren 1 1-1 3, Jack Reynolds 0 2-2 2, Casey Vincent 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 7-13 32.
Ridgway – 62
Jeremy Breier 12 3-6 29, Ben MacDonald 5 5-8 15, Joe Horning 3 2-3 8, Josh Lineberger 1 2-4 4, Phil Waddell 2 0-0 4, Mitchell Stark 0 1-2 1, Mike Sorge 0 1-2 1, Dustin Cowan 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 14-25 62.
3-point field goals: Eisenhower 1 (Frank), Ridgway 2 (Breier 2).
Photo by Joseph Bell
Joe Horning, left, goes up for a basket Friday night against Eisenhower defender Carter Farrell. Horning's eight points helped the Elkers score a 62-32 win in the first round of the Class A state playoffs.
Photo by Joseph Bell
Jeremy Breier, left, makes a move around Eisenhower defender Alex Johnson during the Elkers' 62-32 win Friday night in Clarion in the first round of the PIAA Class A state playoffs. Breier paced all scorers with 29 points.
Elkers advance with 62-32 win over Eisenhower
By Joseph Bell
CLARION – When the dust settled Friday night, the Ridgway Elkers (21-6) were the lone District 9 Class A team still alive in the state playoffs.
"I know ECC and Johnsonburg were ahead of us, especially at the beginning of the season, but this team really grew and we have some leadership that really grew throughout the season, and it carried us through," Ridgway head coach Anthony Allegretto said following the win. "We want to keep this going."
With Elk County Catholic (23-5) and Johnsonburg (23-5) on the losing end, it was Ridgway's Jeremy Breier who played like a season veteran Friday night, scoring 29 points en route to a 62-32 victory over Eisenhower in the opening round of the PIAA Class A boys' basketball playoffs.
The sophomore turned in a sensational performance, going 12-for-15 from the floor, two of the shots from beyond the arc, in addition to five assists, four rebounds and two steals. In the end, Breier's final tally was nearly enough to upend Eisenhower.
"It was our plan to go to [Breier] and we worked on that in practice, and we wanted to use his size to our advantage," Allegretto said. "Missing Josh [Roselli's] penetration and getting the ball to other people, that's tough, and we knew we had to get the ball to [Breier], and we had some trouble early on getting it to him. Once we figured it out, we got some turnovers and were able to put it in the hole."
Allegretto said he was unsure of Roselli's status; the junior guard reportedly injured his knee Monday in practice.
The Elkers had a strong supporting cast, however, as Breier was flanked by Ben MacDonald who put in 15 points for Ridgway. MacDonald was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor in addition to four boards and three assists.
"We did another nice job offensively and [MacDonald] was looking to score more, and he's a good rebounder, and our best defender, a true leader of the team," Allegretto said.
The game was close in the first quarter as Ridgway took just a four-point lead as Breier was the recipient of a home run pass down the length of the court for a layup at the buzzer, giving the Elkers a 12-8 lead.
"We haven't been the greatest shooting team this season and we know we have to get to the basket," Allegretto said. "We shot at least three jumpers in the first quarter and I was very angry with that because we don't need to be doing that, we just have to run our offense then maybe later pop it out and shoot a three."
Layups from Joe Horning and MacDonald opened up the second quarter and put some distance between the teams. A jumper in the paint from Eisenhower's Carter Farrell cut the Elker lead down to five points but an "old-fashioned" three-point play from Horning with a minute to go put the District 9 champions ahead by nine. MacDonald ended the first half with a layup with three seconds on the clock for a double-digit lead at 27-16.
Eisenhower threatened early in the second half with a 3-pointer from Tre Frank and a layup from Chris Sanders to close the gap to seven points. From there, the Elkers put together an 18-2 run into the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
The Elkers forced 18 turnovers and scored 20 points off them.
"That really got us going in the second half, and we look for that," Allegretto said.
Breier scored 10 points during the stretch, including a 3-pointer with 2:37 to go in the third quarter, at that point giving Ridgway a 14-point lead. He would later open the fourth quarter with consecutive field goals, the second being another "old-fashioned" three-point play for a 47-24 lead.
The Elkers put together an 11-0 run late in the game to seal the win.
MacDonald hit four free throws and a layup during the span and Breier nailed a 3-pointer with 3:40 left in the game to put him at 29 points.
"We were trying to get him to 30, and on the last play there he told me he wanted the assist instead," Allegretto said. "As a sophomore, he's such a nice kid and hard worker, and it'll be fun to watch him in the next few years."
A Phil Waddell jumper down the stretch gave the Elkers a 32-point advantage, their largest lead of the night before a Mike Sorge free throw set the final score at 62-32.
Ridgway shot 62.2 percent from the field (23 of 37) to topple the third-place team in District 10.
Ridgway will now play Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic next Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.