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Apollo-Ridge boys build lead, hangs on for win over St. Joseph

| Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, 11:24 p.m.

St. Joseph already has two come-from-behind wins this season, but Apollo-Ridge opened up enough of a lead to make sure there wouldn't be a third.

Tre Tipton scored 24 points — 17 in the second half — and grabbed 13 rebounds, and the Vikings remained undefeated with a 67-57 win over St. Joseph on Friday night in a nonsection home game.

Duane Brown scored nine points, and Maurice Stankus added eight for Apollo-Ridge (5-0).

Jesus Munoz led St. Joseph (2-2) with 14 points, and Chris Gamble scored 11.

The Spartans hung with Apollo-Ridge into the third quarter and cut the lead to 32-28.

The Vikings responded with an 18-3 run that included eight points by Tipton to pull away for good.

“(St. Joseph) did a good job running the floor, and they slowed us down on offense,” Apollo-Ridge coach Matt Gourley said. “We like to run the floor, too.

“That's our game, and we didn't do a very good job of it tonight, to their credit.”

While Apollo-Ridge had a hard time offensively in the first half, the Vikings were able to maintain a lead by controlling the offensive glass.

Apollo-Ridge finished the game with a 40-25 edge in rebounds and scored 25 second-chance points.

“We did well forcing them to take a perimeter shot and miss it, but we need to do a better job of securing the rebound and making it a one-and-out for them,” St. Joseph coach Kelly Robinson said. “We knew they'd crash the boards, and some of their rebounds were just size and athletic ability. Sometimes, you can do a good job boxing out, and they still go up and get it.”

Stankus was the one who did much of the first-half work on the boards by grabbing four rebounds and scoring all eight of his points before halftime.

Eric Moran came off the bench and used his 6-foot-5 frame to chip in with five points and six rebounds.

The game was tied 16-16 midway through the second quarter when Apollo-Ridge went on its first big run.

The Vikings opened a double-digit lead with a 13-2 run, but late 3-pointers by Munoz and John Ferguson cut the halftime margin to 32-24.

“We had a nice little run in the second quarter by going to the boards, but then we let them get back in the game,” Gourley said. “They started doing a nice job penetrating and dishing out, and they hit some 3-pointers on us.”

Apollo-Ridge did a good job in the fourth quarter of keeping a gap between itself and St. Joseph, which has fourth-quarter comeback wins over Ford City and Karns City to its credit.

The Vikings led by as many as 19 points, but the Spartans made an effort for another comeback by cutting the lead to 53-42 with 4:48 to play. St. Joseph never got closer than 11 until the final minute, when the result already was decided.

“This was a good test for us, and we've got Kittanning on Wednesday to get ready for the section,” Gourley said.

“That will be another good test before we play Summit Academy, who I hear is awfully tough.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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