DuBOIS — A three-pointer by Jake Reynolds and a pair of late-game defensive stops helped Ridgway secure a 38-36 victory over Wilmington in the PIAA Class 2A second round Wednesday at DuBois.
In a back-and-forth final quarter, Tage Kelliher put the District 10 runner up Greyhounds in front 36-35 with 2:52 left to play with a pair of scores off back-to-back turnovers by the Elkers.
Both sides were then held scoreless over the next two plus minutes, as Ridgway (26-3) forced Wilmington into a bad shot and came down with the rebound with under a minute to go.
After a timeout, Reynolds worked his way open behind the arc and drained the go-ahead three with 38.5 seconds remaining.
“He’s a senior, he’s our shooter and he was open,” Ridgway head coach Tony Allegretto said. “We weren’t running a play and we were just getting some motion.”
Wilmington (17-9) looked for a tying score on the other end, as Jacob Yohman attempted to drive to the basket along the baseline.
Instead, Allegretto was able to get his hands on the ball and force a jump ball, as the possession arrow was in favor of the Elkers.
Parker Rohr drew a foul on the ensuing inbounds pass and stepped to the line for a one-and-one with 18.2 seconds on the clock, but was unable to convert on the front end.
Ridgway had a pair of fouls to give so after drawing two fouls, the Greyhounds drew up a play during a timeout with 11.3 seconds left.
“We saw that we had three to give and we kept them in front and had them dribble and foul,” Allegretto said.
Wilmington got the ball to Robert Pontius in the corner, who attempted a go-ahead trey, but Reynolds got out to get a hand on the ball as Allegretto came up with the loose ball of the block and drew another foul.
“That was a big block, the guy kinda faded away from Jake (Reynolds) and Jake got a piece of it,” Allegretto said. “He’s had some big blocks for us this year and he’s been a stud for us.”
Once again an Elker foul shooter was unable to hit the front end, as Allegretto’s free throw sailed long and off the back of the iron.
Rohr was able to stretch above everyone else and come down with the ball off the high arching rebound, as the ball got knocked around and was still loose as the final horn sounded.
With the win, Ridgway advances to the PIAA quarterfinals for the second time in the last three seasons.
Allegretto noted that the talk last season was that the 2017-18 season was ‘the’ team for the Elkers and that the returning players took that personally.
“To get back to the final eight, what can you say, those guys busted their hump,” Allegretto said. “Every one of them wanted this and worked hard for it.”
Both teams struggled to hit their shots in the opening quarter, as each team had just three made field goals in the frame as they ended the quarter tied at six.
Colton Richards scored the game’s first basket for the Greyhounds at the 6:41 mark, while Thompson got Ridgway on the board 2:49 into the game.
Yohman beat the buzzer on a fast break to help Wilmington tie the game after eight minutes.
After a slow-paced opening quarter, things slowed down even more in the second, as the two sides combined for just five made field goals.
The teams were held scoreless for close to four and a half minutes to begin the frame, as Shane Cox scored the first points with a basket on the inside with 3:33 left in the opening half.
Zack Zameroski followed with a score on the next possession for the Elkers with 2:49 to go, as the next bucket didn’t come until the final minute of the quarter, as Marett put the Greyhound up 10-8 with just under a minute to play.
Allegretto responded by scoring inside the paint with 30 seconds left, as Matt Dush stole Wilmington’s inbounds pass and put it up and in to help send Ridgway into the half with a 12-10 lead.
After an offensive struggle in the first half, each team put up more points in the third quarter than their first and second quarter outputs combined.
In the end the Elkers had added a point to their lead by outscoring the Greyhounds 15-14 in the third to take a 27-27 advantage into the fourth.
After Thompson scored the first basket of the third, Wilmington went on an 8-0 run over 1:59 to jump in front 18-14.
Marret kick started the run with a three-pointer, as Daniel Hanssen added a trey after a score on the inside by Richards to put Wilmington up four with 5:18 to go in the third.
Reynolds quickly swung the momentum back to Ridgway’s side with a three of his own, as a score by Dush and free throws from Reynolds closed a 7-0 run for the Elkers.
After a three-point play by Richards gave the lead back to Wilmington with 1:24 left in the quarter, baskets by Zameroski and Thompson sent Ridgway into the final quarter with a three-point lead at 27-24.
Richards was the lone Greyhound to finish in double figures, scoring 10 points in the loss, while Marett added eight.
The two sides went back-and-forth in the fourth quarter before Reynolds’ third trey of the night inside the final minute secured the win for the Elkers.
Reynolds finished with a game-high 13 points for Ridgway, while Thompson added nine and Allegretto had six.
The Elkers will face WPIAL champion Our Lady of Sacred Heart in the quarterfinal round Saturday at a site and time to be determined.