Elkers down Dutch 58-49 to advance to tourney finals

ST. MARYS – The Ridgway Elkers used a strong second half to advance to the championship game of the 32nd annual Elk County Boys’ Holiday Basketball Tournament to defeat the St. Marys Area Flying Dutchmen by a 58-49 score.The Elkers will now meet the Johnsonburg Rams tonight at 8 p.m. for the boys’ championship. Johnsonburg defeated the Elk County Catholic Crusaders 40-37 in Wednesday’s nightcap.Ridgway outscored the Dutch 13-4 in the third period to turn a 34-30 St. Marys halftime lead to a 43-38 Elker lead at the end of the third quarter.“In the first half (SMA’s) Jimmy Werner and Justin Quiggle outplayed everybody on our team. In the second half Tony Leithner, our energy guy, came in for Josh Mitchell who had three fouls and picked us up,” said Ridgway head coach Anthony Allegretto.“We played with more energy in the second half. We didn’t have the energy in the first half and it showed,” said Allegretto.“Josh Mitchell played a solid game and Eric (Matheson) played well. He’s our leader out there. He took over the game,” added the coach.Matheson led the Ridgway offense with 33 points on 11 twos, one three and an eight for eight night from the foul line. Mitchell was next with six points.For St. Marys, Jimmy Werner led the way with 16 points on five field goals and a six for six night from the foul line. Justin Quiggle scored 15 points on six twos and a three.“The entire second half they (Ridgway) did a better job defensively,” said St. Marys coach Mark Guido.“We didn’t get enough good looks in the second half,” said Guido.“I didn’t do a good enough job getting the defense to do better in the second half,” added Guido.Matheson and Quiggle traded buckets to open the contest, with Quiggle giving the Dutch the 4-2 lead. Mitchell sank a foul shot before the teams traded buckets, 6-5 St. Marys. A three by Caleb Bennett gave the Dutch the 9-5 lead. Jordan Lundin scored on a putback for Ridgway. Quiggle and Matheson again traded points before Werner closed out the scoring in the first period with two foul shots, 18-11 St. Marys.Matheson connected on a three to open the second period. Shajuan Carrero hit a field goal, with Matheson answering with two foul shots. Alex Oknefski, Matheson and Tony Leithner scored for the Elkers as they tied the game at 22. Brandon Vollmer and Bennett scored for the Dutch, 26-22. Matheson sank two foul shots and scored off a steal, 26-26. Vollmer scored off a steal with Lundin scoring for Ridgway, 28-28. With the score tied at 30, Werner would score the final points of the half as the Dutch led 34-30 at halftime.The third period saw the Elkers outscore the Dutch 9-2 in the first four and a half minutes to take a 39-36 lead with 3:37 left in the period. Werner scored on a putback, with Matheson sinking two foul shots and hitting a field goal as Ridgway led 43-38 at the end of three.Mitchell sank one foul shot and Matheson two as the Elkers led 46-38. Sam Guido scored for the Dutch, 46-40. Oknefski sank a foul shot and Matheson made it 49-40. Bennett sank one of two foul shots, 49-41. A bucket by Leithner made it 51-41 with 2:46 left in the game. In the closing minutes St. Marys outscored Ridgway 8-7, but it wasn’t enough as Ridgway won 58-49.The Elkers are now 5-0 on the season while the Dutchmen are 5-2 on the season.Today’s schedule will see Ridgway and Johnsonburg meeting in the girls’ consolation at 3 p.m. Elk Catholic and St. Marys will meet in the boys’ consolation game at 4:30 p.m. Elk Catholic and St. Marys will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the girls’ championship, while the Elkers and the Rams square off tonight at 8 p.m. in the championship game.