Ridgway boys basketball honored with banquet

The Ridgway boys basketball team was honored with a banquet Monday night at Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School. Eric Matheson received both the Frank Clark Award and the Best Offensive Player Award. "We had a lot of different high scorers at different times but Eric was the most steady," Ridgway varsity head coach Anthony Allegretto said. Ben Jaques won the Herbie Lenze Award and fellow senior Dom Aiello won the Scholar-Athlete Award. Aaron Sorge won the Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award. "Every game I ask him to guard their point guard or best scorer," Allegretto said. "By the end of the season he was one heck of a defensive player."Allegretto handed out Coach's Awards to Kyle Kinkead, Tony Leithner, Jordan Lundin, Jaques and Aiello. Allegretto spoke about the season. Ridgway finished with a 21-5 record but lost in the second round of the district playoffs to DuBois Central Catholic. "We strived for them and that's a success that we strived for them," Allegretto said. "We won our division, we set a regular-season wins record. We won more games than any Elker team had previously."Allegretto said with the team having 21 wins, it was hard to label the season as a failure. "The last defeat against DCC was crushing," Allegretto said. "It was crushing for the parents who cared so deeply for the boys and wanted them to reach the success not seen in Ridgway. For the coaches who have been around for the lean years and to know that it's right there. It was crushing to me. The worst loss I ever felt in anything I had ever done. It was crushing to the parents. We can't have that as a lasting memory for our team this year. Many people were there to lift our spirits."Allegretto listed some highlights of the season which included Jesse Reynolds hitting a trey against ECC after tying the game up along with Dom Aiello's 3-pointer against Smethport and winning four games against Johnsonburg. Allegretto spoke of Ben Jaques hitting some long treys in the first game at the Holiday Tournament. More highlights Allegretto spoke of included Alex Oknefski and his defense on Chris Marshall during Ridgway's regular-season win against DCC. He also named Matheson and Lundin, two free throw shooters who shot at least 80 percent from the foul line and Sorge's strong game against Sheffield. Allegretto said he was pleased with the resolve of the team. "We would have three tough games in a week," Allegretto said. "As time goes by, I think we'll remember the good from this season. We all worked so hard so we wouldn't have any regrets at the end of the season. We strived to get better and we never relented. See through the disappointment and know that we did some wonderful things, made some great memories and learned some great lessons. For the seniors, Ben and Dom, you helped establish a basis for this program for years to come." Players on the JV and varsity teams this season were Kyle Kinkead, Keith Zawatski, Jesse Reynolds, Tyler Stark, Tony Leithner, Damon Carlson, Ben Jaques, Eric Matheson, Dom Aiello, Jordan Lundin, Joe Jaques, Sam Roselli, Aaron Sorge, Alex Oknefski, Josh Mitchell, Kyle Rickard and Robbie Byrd. Byrd, Bobby and Rickard were on the JV teams this year and were recognized for their work being statisticians for the varsity level. Allegretto also recognized Ryan McClelland for his work filming. Allegretto expressed his appreciation to everyone in the program for their help during the season including assistant coaches, area businesses, the booster club, cheerleaders, radio station and coaches at the younger levels along with his wife.Kim Jaques opened the banquet by expressing appreciation to the parents and the loyal fanbase which came to the games this season. The pep band was also recognized. The seniors presented the coaches with wooden clocks engraved with the team photo and a message of appreciation.