Apollo-Ridge wins low-scoring contest
KISKI TOWNSHIP -- It was evident early on Tuesday night that the state record of 257 points scored in a boys high school basketball game would be safe.
Both Apollo-Ridge and Saltsburg had considerable trouble finding their respective shooting touches, especially in the first half.
But Apollo-Ridge (6-4) made four 3-pointers during a three-minute stretch of the third quarter and posted a 42-34 victory in the championship game of the annual Apollo Trust Holiday Tournament.
The Vikings shot just 22 percent in the first half -- Saltsburg made only 17 percent of its attempts -- as Apollo-Ridge led, 14-12, at the intermission. Tournament MVP Mike Poydence made two 3-pointers, and Cory Reilly and Shane Wingard added the others as the Vikings stretched their lead to 26-16 with 2:52 remaining in the third period.
""They definitely helped us," Apollo-Ridge coach Greg Fox said of the 3-pointers. "We were getting open shots all night long, but we couldn't make them."
"I thought it was a very ugly first half," Saltsburg coach Jeff Clawson said. "I knew they were capable of shooting when I scouted them, but those threes created a big swing in a game like that."
Poydence, who had 10 3-point field goals in his last two games, was held to a single 3-pointer in the first half as the Saltsburg defense sagged on the Vikings' junior.
"We were shading him in the zone, definitely, because of the kind of shooter he is," Clawson said. "Then in the second half, those threes were big. When we fell behind by 10, I had to do some things other than what we're accustomed to make things happen."
"Give them credit: They shaded Michael wherever he was at; it was hard for him to get a shot off," Fox said. "He's got the green light."
Sophomore Jesse Reed had all eight Saltsburg points in the third period to keep the Trojans within striking range. Dave Painter's 3-pointer brought Saltsburg to within 28-24 with 5:24 left in the game, but the Trojans couldn't get any closer.
John Rotto was 4 of 4 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, and Derek Bandurak hit 3 of 4 to maintain the lead.
"The last couple of games, we've been getting to the line a little more, and we're shooting free throws much better than we did at the beginning of the year," Fox said.
Reed led Saltsburg with 18 points. Reilly paced Apollo-Ridge with 12 points and eight rebounds. Both players, along with Painter, were named to the all-tournament team.
Saltsburg, a school that was scheduled to close at the end of the last school year, is 5-3. The election of a majority of school board members against consolidation with Blairsville High School has kept Saltsburg open.
The all-time Pennsylvania scoring mark in a game was set in 1998, when Philadelphia Washington edged West Philly, 130-127, in four overtimes.