CLARION — The top-seeded Ridgway boys basketball team was put in a 10-point deficit after one quarter, and it was too big of a hole to climb out of as the Elkers were handed their first loss of the season against No. 2 Coudersport, 66-46, on Saturday night in the Class A title game to cap the District 9 championships at Clarion University.
The Elkers were denied what would have been their first championship since the 2014 season when they won it at the Class A level.
The Elkers defeated the Falcons, 59-57, back on Feb. 3 at Ridgway High School as part of starting the season 25-0.
The back-breaker of the night was the long distance shooting from Coudy, which made 10 three-pointers in the game.
“That’s their game and they have to make them,” said Ridgway coach Tony Allegretto. “I think they made seven out of nine in the first half. We pride ourselves on defense. We knew they’d make some shots. They made nine against us the last time.”
Getting to the foul line was also key for the Falcons as they were 22-for-29 from the charity stripe on the night.
“We knew this would be a tough game,” Allegretto said. “These are the two best teams in the district here. We proved that all year. If they make three-pointers, they’re unbeatable. If they don’t get all those foul shots, it’s a different game in the second half.”
Trailing 19-9 at the end of one quarter, Coudersport still steadily increased the lead over the second quarter. They led 36-22 at halftime, despite the Elkers’ Johnny Mitchell putting in 12 points in the first half.
Coudersport led by as much as 25 in the second half as they coasted to the win.
Coudersport’s Owen Chambers, who scored 32 in the semifinal game earlier this week against Brockway, put in 27 points on Saturday. Hunter Ricke chipped in 17 points, while Hayden Keck had 10 off the bench.
For Ridgway, Mitchell had 17 to lead the way while Neil MacDonald added 15.
Ridgway (25-1) will start the PIAA Class AA Tournament on Saturday against the third place team out of District 5.
“The first game in states is always the toughest for anybody because you had your district championship, you had your run and everybody’s excited, and then you take a week off,” said Allegretto. “That first game you always have to avoid a letdown.
“We’ve been pretty lucky. We probably have about a .500 record in that first game, but we’re healthy. The last four or five years, we haven’t been healthy going into the district playoffs or the state playoffs. This will be the first time in five years we have our whole team ready to roll.”