RIDGWAY — For most of the game’s opening 22 minutes, the Ridgway Elkers were able to play their style of basketball: a methodical offensive attack, a stingy perimeter defense and a stranglehold on the time of possession.
But for the last 10, the Coudersport Falcons began to play theirs — the one that’s led them to four consecutive district championship appearances — and that was the difference.
Finally making their shots from 3-point range as well as taking advantage of looks in transition, the Falcons scored nearly 30 points over the final 10 minutes to pull past their bitter District 9 Class AA rival Elkers and earn a 50-39 win on the road Friday night.
Coudersport (6-2) started the game nearly flawlessly, opening up an 11-1 lead just four minutes in. But in a game of runs, the Elkers quickly closed that double-digit lead to a one-point hole at halftime before the two teams went back-and-forth in the third quarter.
But after Ridgway (6-2) grabbed its first lead at 20-19, the Falcons went on the game’s final, and decisive, run in outscoring their opponents 30-20 over the last quarter and change.
“Well, we’ve been preaching to the kids for the last several weeks and moreso over the last couple of days watching film that we really need to be able to penetrate and look for kicks,” first-year Coudersport coach Scott Easton said. “We have some shooters on the team and a couple of kids who can knock them down if we can get the kicks out to them. I think eventually we got some penetration and kick-outs.”
While Coudy scored six straight points on drives from Hayden Keck (four points) and Dillon Keglovits (two) to pull ahead 25-20, that film work and the passes out to the perimeter finally paid off.
After not hitting a 3-pointer for the first 22:10 of the game, Coudy’s Derek Easton nailed the first trey for either team on an open look with just over a minute to play to give the Falcons an eight-point lead. Then, on the next possession, Kolby VanWhy knocked down a shot from long range. After scoring just two points for most of the quarter, the Falcons exploded for 11 in just over two minutes to play.
“Four possessions and twelve points, it’s hard to overcome that especially when you were chasing an uphill battle the whole way,” Ridgway coach Tony Allegretto said.“Obviously Coudersport is a tough team. I thought my kids did a nice job with them. Those kids all have experience and we’re playing four out of six kids with not a whole lot of experience and they’re still learning.”
The Falcons hit another two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and then went 7-for-11 at the free-throw line to outscore the Elkers 19-17 over the final eight minutes. Daniel Frame put the game away with a 3-pointer with just over three minutes left to give Coudy a 51-41 advantage.
“We were able to come out and defend and get some transitions and knock down a couple of open shots, Easton said. “Early on we knocked (our free-throws) down, then we missed some in the middle, but towards the end we were able to knock them down again.”It was another balanced scoring attack for Easton’s charges on the offensive end. Keglovits had a team-high 13 points, but VanWhy (12) and Keck (11) were also in double figures as seven players found the scoresheet compared to just four for Ridgway.
“Going into the season we talked about (balance) as a team and with some of our goals,” Easton noted. “I think one of the good things about us — obviously missing Owen (Chambers, District 9’s all-time leading scorer that averaged 30 points per game last year) we can’t recover all of that — but we talk a lot that we have 5, 6 guys that can get 10-15 points per game.”
For the Elkers, Matt Dush had 14 points and Zack Zameroski added 11. After losing to Elk County Catholic last Saturday, Ridgway has now lost back-to-back games for the first time in at least two years.
Despite being separated by nearly 60 miles, Coudersport and Ridgway are no strangers to each other on the basketball court. The two schools have met in each of the last two D9 Class AA title games, splitting championship titles.
Their matchups over the years have been known for chippiness, something that was again on display again Friday night with 31 total fouls that included Easton earning a technical mid-way through the fourth.
In other words, it was just another Coudersport-Ridgway game.
“This is a tough place to play and it’s a little bit of a smaller court,” he noted. “They play a lot of defense, a lot of intense ‘D’ and they bring it. It was definitely intense on both sides, and I don’t have anything bad to say about Ridgway.
“At one point we definitely knocked down a couple 3’s that were able to get us some separation. And then they had to play from behind which they don’t do very often.”AT RIDGWAY
Dillon Keglovits 5 3-6 13, Kolby VanWhy 3 5-8 12, Hayden Keck 5 1-3 11, Easton 1 3-3 6, Frame 1 2-2 5, Da. Keglovits 1 0-0 3, Daniels 0 0-2 0.
16 14-25 50
Zack Zameroski 4 3-5 11, Matt Dush 5 4-6 14, Allegretto 1 2-4 4, Bon 0 1-2 1, Park 4 0-0 9.
14 10-17 39
13 17 31 50
5 16 22 39
Three-point goals: Coudy 4 (Easton, Frame, VanWhy, Da. Keglovits), Ridgway 1 (Park); Total fouls: Coudy 20, Ridgway 15; fouled out: Keck (Coudy)
JV: Coudy won 41-37