RIDGWAY — Leaders show their true worth in times of need, and that’s just what the senior duo of Matt Dush and Zack Zameroski did Saturday afternoon for Ridgway as they rallied the Elkers past Brockway, 53-42, on their home floor.
The matinee (12:30 p.m. start) came about after inclement weather postponed the game Friday night. One would think the early start would have affected the Rovers more having to make the early trek north on Route 219.
That was far from the case though, as the Rovers shredded the Ridgway press in the opening eight minutes on their way to a 16-8 lead after one quarter. The Elkers found some traction in the second quarter but still trailed 24-21 at the break.
The momentum swung back to the Rovers in the third, as Marcus Copelli, Jared Marchiori and Alec Freemer all hit 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the quarter to give Brockway a 33-24 advantage with 3:33 on the clock.
Unfortunately for the Rovers (6-14), it was all Elkers from there as they ripped off an 18-0 run to end the third and start the fourth to turn that nine-point deficit into a nine-point lead at 42-33 with 4:44 to play in the game.
Dush started that run with a hoop before Zameroski scored 12 straight points. The duo then traded scores to cap the run, which came to an end when Marchiori went 1 of 2 at the line with 4:20 left.
The Elkers (14-6) quickly responded with a 6-2 spurt to push their lead to 12 at 48-36. Dan Park had four of those six points.
Brockway didn’t go away quietly though, as Jon Wood and Freemer hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to six (48-42). The Rovers hit seven treys in the game — three by Freemer.
Brockway didn’t score again though, as Ridgway went 5 of 6 at the foul line in the final 1:06 to ice the victory.
Zameroski led all scorers with 19 points, 16 of which came in the second half — 14 in Ridgway’s huge 18-0 run. Dush (15) and Park (13). also reached double figures.
Freemer and Copelli finished with 11 to lead the Rovers, with Marchiori adding eight.
“We expected this to be a lot tougher on Brockway today playing in a game you’re not use too and getting on a Bus (early),” said Ridgway Coach Tony Allegretto. “But, they came and took it right to us in the beginning. Coach Clark does a nice and they have a couple nice players and guys who will scrap and made shots.
“When that run started (late 3rd quarter), we just went to Matt (Dush) one on one and got a ball screen at the top. He made some nice decisions and good passes and made some shots. Zack hitting the three off one of those plays was big. He was the beneficiary of Matt attracting all the attention, but you have to make the shots and he did. He also had a couple nice takes.
“You need that senior leadership and we got it from those two. And, the other guys filled in. Dan (Park) probably had double figures and controlled the boards. Everybody played well, we just missed shots early.”
Brockway jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead with a trio of layups — two by Copelli — before the teams traded scores through the middle of the opening quarter.
Holding a 10-6 lead, Brockway got a 3-point play from Austin Schmader with 2:09 on the clock before Marcus Bennett drained a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to put the Rovers up eight (16-8) after one quarter. Bennett’s trey came on the heels of Dush scoring on the other end.
Ridgway settled in a little to start the second and put together an 11-2 run to grab its first lead of the game at 19-18 with 3:36 left in the half. Park had seven of his 13 points in that spurt, while a foul line jumper by Zameroski put the Elkers on top for the first time.
That lead was short-lived though, as Freemer was fouled while making a 3-pointer on the Rovers’ ensuing possession. He hit the free throw to complete the rare 4-point play to give the Brockway a 22-19 lead.
Copelli added a score from there, while Alex Bon added a pair of free throws for the Elkers as the game went to the half with Brockway holding a 3-point lead (24-21).
Brockway came out of the break on fire from the outside. Copelli opened the scoring with his lone trey of the game, while Marchiori and Freemer added triples of their own to push the Rovers’ lead to nine (33-24) before Zameroski and Dush took over the game for the Elkers.
Brockway had a chance to take the lead into the fourth, but Freemer had a 3-pointer at from the corner at the buzzer got most of the way down before spinning back out. Instead of leading 36-25, the Elkers continued their roll early in the final quarter.
“They are a team where you know that it’s coming, and you just have to withstand the storm,” said Brockway Coach Rick Clark. “Zameroski hit a big 3 that kind of got them going, then they got a couple offensive boards. I thought the second half we didn’t do as good a job on the defensive glass. The first half we really limited theitr second chance opportunities. That have us a chance to get out and run a little bit.
“I really could kind of feel the air come out when that 3 rolled in and out on Alec (end of 3rd) that would have given us the lead back to start the fourth. We just didn’t seem to get anything going after that.
“Overall, it was a great effort by our guys. We’ve played some really good teams tight, and executed for large parts of those games, and then just can’t find a way to get over the hump and get a ‘W.’”
Both teams are back in action Monday. Ridgway travels to Smethport, while while Brockway plays at Clarion.