CURWENSVILLE — Fans that packed into Patton Hall on Tuesday night were ready to see a basketball game. The Golden Tide stepped onto the hardwood to face off with an Allegany Mountain League rival, and state-ranked, Ridgway Elkers.
What fans got for 32 minutes was basketball, but maybe a bit of hockey as well.
Both squads were trying to match physicality with physicality, neither giving an inch. The issue seemed to be among the crowd, and maybe on one sideline, is that the physicality wasn’t being watched equally. Curwensville ended up on the wrong end of many of the calls, which caused outrage from the bench, and the stands. It even caused shouting matches between the coaches at certain points.
In between all the contested play, there were still smart plays in passing, shooting, and on the boards. But it was Ridgway that ended up on the positive end of a 57-44 final.
Curwensville head coach Matt Wassil took extra time in the locker room to address his team, and to gather his thoughts about what happened. He and Ridgway head coach Anthony Allegretto exchanged words during the game in regards to some of the physical play. Afterwards while the teams shook hands, they went right to each other to exchange heated words. Nothing more came of it, but it was clear both sidelines were frustrated.
“I think it was physical on both sides,” Wassil said. “We seemed to get more of the calls against us as far as the fouls. It didn’t really help us because they got shots from the free-throw line.
“I don’t know what more we could do, honestly. We had to pressure them more defensively, be aggressive for the ball. It just seemed like we couldn’t buy a break on defense, then down here on offense as well.”
Wassil’s squad was called for 23 fouls, including 10 in the final quarter. This let Ridgway head to the foul line 24 times in the game, making 18 of those shots. In comparison, Curwensville saw its opposition commit nine fouls, and the Tide only went to the foul line three times the entire game.
The physicality of the game was the lead story, as both squads tried to get an edge, and push the envelope as to what they could and couldn’t do. It seemed to frustrate Curwensville a lot more than Ridgway, but Wassil felt that each squad was letting the physicality determine the game, rather than the actual game play.
“I think it was frustrating for every player that took the court, including some of theirs. I just don’t think it was real consistent,” he said. “But, you have to deal with that, and I told the kids that at halftime. It was something we had to keep working through, and I thought our kids showed a lot of heart by battling back.”
Curwensville did have a strong outing by Devon Barrett, who led the Tide in scoring with 17 points. But it was his play late in the third quarter, and entering the fourth that kept Curwensville within striking distance.
Down 46-30, Barrett hit a deep three from the post to start a run. Shortly after, he nailed a second three-pointer from near the sideline. Avery Francisco then added in a bucket, as well as another from Josh Terry, to get Curwensville on a 10-0 run to make the game a two-possession contest.
“Barrett hit some big shots for us. Anytime somebody makes some shots it can breathe in some life. Avery was seeming to find some of those screen rolls,” Wassil said. “We had some success with that early, but we just couldn’t get back into that rhythm when Avery got in foul trouble. That was really the key, though.”
The foul trouble began to hurt in the final quarter.
Despite great defense by Curwensville, limiting the Elkers to just two shots from the floor the last eight minutes, the fouls led to free opportunities at the line for five different Elker players, who missed all but four free throws in the final quarter. All of the Elkers’ 11 points in the final frame came from the foul line.
Andy Breier led Ridway in scoring, and the overall game, with 21 points, plus eight rebounds. Neil MacDonald accounted for 14 points, but also added in nine assists to his credit, a lot of those going to Breier on back door swing passes.
Curwensville didn’t fair any better in the opening jayvee game, losing 40-18.
Still, Curwensville has a positive record of 7-6, with nine games remaining in the season. Wassil didn’t want to put the game in the rear-view mirror, mainly because despite the physical play of both squads, and the frustration it caused, it did allow him to preach something to his team in the locker room.
“I think you take the fact that the kids played hard, and with a lot of intensity. We were playing against the fifth-ranked team in the state, and we hung right in there, not backing down,” he said. “I think we need to tell them we need to match that intensity day in and day out, not just on occasion.”
Curwensville has a break before hitting the hardwood again on Friday when they travel to Brockway. These two teams will be doing a back-to-back in the schedule as they will face off again next Tuesday in Patton Hall, the latter being a make-up game that was originally set to be played on January 5, but was postponed due to weather not once, but twice, as the first make-up date on January 12 again was scrapped due to weather.
Tip off for Friday’s game in Brockway is set for 6 p.m. for the jayvee teams, with varsity to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Ridgway 16 13 17 11 – 57
Curwensville 10 7 16 11 – 44
Ridgway – 57
Dush 0 2-2 2, Zameroski 0 0-0 0, Wickett 1 0-0 2, Hinton 0 0-0 0, Reynolds 0 0-0 0, Young 0 0-0 0, Rohr 0 0-0 0, Thorwart 1 3-4 5, MacDonald 4 6-8 14, Allegetto 2 3-4 8, Salberg 0 0-0 0, Breier 10 1-2 21, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Rosario 0 0-0 0, Simon 0 0-0 0, Mitchell 1 3-4 5. TOTALS 19 18-24 57.
Curwensville – 44
Terry 3 0-0 7, Barrett 7 0-0 17, Stewart 0 0-0 0, VonGunden 0 0-0 0, Bloom 1 0-0 2, Irwin 0 0-0 0, Bakaysa 1 2-2 4, Francisco 7 0-1 14, McKenrick 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 19 2-3 44.
Three-Point Baskets: Allegetto/Terry, Barrett (3)
Fouled Out: Terry, VonGunden
Golden Tide Scoreboard:
|12/08||@ Clearfield||52 – 54||0 – 1|
|12/11||WEST BRANCH||57 – 54 ot||1 – 1|
|12/15||@ Mo Valley||61 – 49||2 – 1|
|12/20||GLENDALE||82 – 47||3 – 1|
|12/28||@ Freeport Tourney|
|12/28||vs. Freeport||54 – 85||3 – 2|
|12/29||vs. Mercyhurst Prep||32 – 46||3 – 3|
|01/03||@ Ridgway||32 – 52||3 – 4|
|01/05||BROCKWAY||ppd.||3 – 4|
|01/09||DUBOIS CENTRAL CATH||58 – 49||4 – 4|
|01/11||HARMONY||90 – 74||5 – 4|
|01/12||BROCKWAY||ppd.||5 – 4|
|01/16||@ Elk County Catholic||46 – 78||5 – 5|
|01/19||KANE||58 – 45||6 – 5|
|01/22||MO VALLEY||60 – 53||7 – 5|
|01/23||RIDGWAY||44 – 57||7 – 6|
|02/06||@ DuBois Central Catholic|
|02/07||@ West Branch|