Ringgold knocks off Charleroi in opener
In a back-and-forth affair between local boys basketball squads, the Ringgold Rams came away with a 54-45 road victory over Charleroi Area in each teams' season opener Saturday night.
The game, originally scheduled for Friday, was pushed back due to inclement weather.
“We were inconsistent,” Charleroi coach Bill Wiltz said. “We took some bad shots and made some bad turnovers. I think they went on a 10-0 run or something at one point. We battled back and took the lead, but it's a game of runs and they had a couple more runs and longer runs than we did.”
The Cougars highly-touted 6-7 sophomore John Arnold made his debut and had an immediate impact, blocking two shots and grabbing five rebounds in the second quarter, battling inside with Ringgold's pair of big underclassmen forwards, freshmen Dakota Browning (6-5) and George Martin (6-4). Arnold's presence sparked Charleroi in a very physical second quarter and they went to the half leading 22-20.
“Arnold, boy is he a big kid,” Ringgold coach Phil Pergola said. “It's really hard to match up with a player like that. He is immensely talented, which hurt us at times, but also a bit raw, which we took advantage of at times. Give him a couple more years to develop and he is going to be scary good.”
But it was a different story in the second half as Ringgold dominated the third quarter and turned a two-point deficit into an eight-point lead while forcing the Cougars into mistake after mistake.
“We really didn't make any adjustments in the locker room, but we ran a little more zone in the second half,” Pergola said. “The kids just stepped up their game in the second half.”
The Rams were able to counter Arnold's size advantage with pump fakes and drives, forcing the over-anxious sophomore out of position and getting him into foul trouble.
“He is a sophomore,” Wiltz said. “He has a lot of learning to do. What he was able to get away with in middle school and junior high he can't get away with here, because guys are bigger and stronger and know how to play. But he is going to keep developing and getting better. He has unlimited potential, and this was only his first varsity game, so there are big things to come for the kid.”
Charleroi's experienced lineup wouldn't allow the Cougars to be counted out. On the strength of big shots from seniors Brandon Bowman, Evan Anderson and Matt Indorante, the Cougars went on a 12-2 run to begin the fourth to take a 44-42 lead. Anderson paced the Cougars with 13 points, while Bowman contributed 12 and Indorante 10.
“Bowman was our horse tonight,” Wiltz said. “He is an undersized forward and he finished with double digits, all key shots, all key possessions. I don't think Matt had the game that Matt is going to have too often. First game, first game jitters or whatever, we will get better.”
The Rams countered with a 13-1 run of their own to close out the game. Ringgold senior Dayshore Majors, after a slow start, finished with a game-high 15 points and was instrumental to his team's success in the second half, as was junior Alec Varley, who came off the bench to finish with ten points of his own. Martin contributed nine points and Browning eight, while Shakal Brooks finished with eight rebounds.
“Everyone played well,” Pergola said. “Our big freshmen in the backcourt had phenomenal games and Dayshore really showed his senior leadership out there, making big plays when we needed him too. Varley was another one; he played a phenomenal game off the bench. I'm proud of the way our kids kept battling back. They played a complete game, all 32 minutes hard and the final score showed. It was a very physical game, as expected, and our kids rose to the challenge in the second half.”
Franklin Regional 77, Monessen 54
The Greyhounds (0-2) fell behind 23-11 after one quarter and never recovered in a consolation game at Upper St. Clair.
Clintell Gillaspie had 12 points and Javon Brown and Lavelle Rush had 10 each for Monessen.
Matt Renzi had 27 points and Todd Summers 10 for the Panthers (1-1).
Elizabeth Forward 75, Southmoreland 28
Allison Pastore netted a game-high 16 points as the Warriors (2-0) defeated the Scotties (0-2) in the championship game of the Southmoreland Tip-off Tournament on Saturday. Kylie Owoc and Abigail Sporio each scored 13 points and Jessica Palady followed with 12 points.
Frazier 64,Mapletown 55
Commodores' freshman Alvin Ross led all scorers with 26 points as the Commodores (1-0) rolled to a win over the Maples in the Geibel Tip-off Tournament on Saturday. Charles Manack posted 12 points and Roger Cline was next with 11 points.
Derek Riggleman led all scorers with 37 points for the Maples (0-1).
Northgate 66,Yough 48
The Cougars (0-2) bowed in a consolation game at Springdale.
Joe Pleva scored 13 points and Josh Sterner 11 for the Cougars (0-2).
Russell Taymon led Northgate (1-1) with 25 points.
Charleroi 64,Clairton 13
The Lady Cougars (2-0) rolled to their second easy win in their tip-off tourney as Mia Woytovich scored 16 points, Rachel Ritzer 15, Lynsey Wright 12 and Anjie Tilghman 10.
Charleroi raced out to a 20-6 first quarter lead and upped the margin to 37-9 at halftime.
Carmichaels 51, Monessen 22
The Lady Greyhounds (0-2) bowed at Charleroi as Teraee Bradford had 17 points in a losing effort.
Caroline Cree had 20 for Carmichaels (2-0).
BV Area 78,Keystone Oaks 69, 2OT
In the first game of their tip-off tourney, the Lady Leps got 20 points from Meaghan Murphy, 19 from Bria Rathway and 18 from Kaitlyn Slagus as they won the double-overtime contest.
Maryssa Agurs had 26 points for KO.
Upper St. Clair 56,BV Area 49
The Lady Leps (1-1) came back two hours later and lost to USC, despite getting a game-high 22 points from Slagus. Rathway had 10.
Diandra Conwell had 17 points to lead the winners (2-0).
BVA's Slagus and Rathway made the all-tournament team, along with USC's Conwell and Constance Raftis and KO's Agurs and Jillian Welch.
Ringgold 54,Fort Cherry 37
The Lady Rams (2-0) won their second game in the Fort Cherry-Montour Round Robin Tournament.
Marlena Schmidt had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Ringgold while Bailey Cooper had 16 points.
Rachel Bellhy led Fort Cherry with 19 points.
Chartiers-Houston 44, California 27
The Lady Trojans (0-2) got 11 points from freshman Kylie Huffman in a losing effort in the consolation game at Brownsville.
Elizabeth Forward 75, Southmoreland 28
EF (2-0) won the Southmoreland Tournament as Allison pastore had 16 points, Kylie Owoc and Abigail Sporio 13 and Jessica Palady added 12.
Donnie Tasser is a freelance writer.