Apollo-Ridge boys take advantage of turnovers in win
Ford City had a shot to pick up a road win in the section, but the ball — and the game — slipped from the Sabers' grasp.
The Sabers committed 28 turnovers, 19 of which came on Apollo-Ridge steals, as the Vikings held off visiting Ford City for a Section 1-AA win 48-40 on Tuesday night.
Dom Schrecengost scored 15 points, and Alex Smith had 12 for Apollo-Ridge (12-1, 4-1), which stays a half game behind Summit Academy for the section lead entering the teams' second game Friday.
Jesse Sequeira led all scorers with 20 points for Ford City (5-9, 2-3), and Blake Bower had eight points and 11 rebounds.
Apollo-Ridge had a 36-27 lead entering the final quarter, but Sequeira started the Sabers toward a comeback with two 3-pointers that cut the lead to 41-38 with 3:30 to play. The Vikings responded by forcing the ball away from Sequeira, and the Sabers had four turnovers and only one basket over the final three minutes.
“We were switching on screens with Jesse. They kept getting mismatches, and he kept draining 3s or driving to the hoop,” Apollo-Ridge coach Matt Gourley said. “I put Tre (Tipton) on him at the end and told him I don't want him to touch the ball the rest of the way. He was killing us.”
Tipton had just nine points for Apollo-Ridge, but he had a solid game with 12 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots. Duane Brown had eight steals for the Vikings as he and his team made offense hard to come by for Ford City.
“Twenty-eight turnovers. We turned the ball over 28 times and lost by eight. If we cut the turnovers in half, we win the game,” Ford City coach Greg Hutcherson said. “We're still just not mature enough as a team, and we have to learn how to win games at the end.”
Apollo-Ridge struggled to score early in the game, but Schrecengost became the Vikings' go-to guy.
Ford City's defense stayed in a tight zone to keep Tipton from driving, and the result was Schrecengost getting open looks from 3-point range. He knocked down two outside shots in the first quarter and later added a third 3-pointer and a long two.
“I don't think anybody is telling their players to guard Dom closely on the perimeter, but he's been making a few shots. He had some tonight that were big for us in a close game,” Gourley said. “We knew coming in tonight that Ford City could win if we didn't play well, and fortunately, we got enough buckets to beat them.”
The Vikings took the lead for good by going on a 10-0 run when the game was tied 15-15 in the second quarter. Smith capped the run by stealing the ball and drawing contact as he went up for a dunk that hit the rim, bounced upward and fell through to give him a chance at a three-point play.
A 9-0 run in the third quarter opened up the biggest lead of the game for Apollo-Ridge, 36-22, but Ford City battled back.
“We're still confident in our basketball team, and we believe we can beat anybody,” Hutcherson said. “We've got part of our schedule coming up where we want to win some ballgames and get into the playoffs, and then anything can happen.”