CURWENSVILLE — After opening the season with a pair of road trips, the Curwensville Golden Tide finally got to play in front of their home fans inside Patton Hall Friday night, hoping to turn around an 0-2 start to the season. Head coach Matt Wassil, in his second stint with the Tide, looked across the court to see the Ridgway Elkers provide the challenge.
It did not take long to see the Tide were outmatched when it came to size, but it was their own miscues that made the difference. Turnovers, missed baskets, and squandered opportunities landed Curwensville on the wrong end of a 65-26 final.
“We knew they were a really good team. We just didn’t have any good matchups. We prefer to play man-to-man, but there was no way we could play that. So we played zone, and at times it worked. When we don’t get enough offensive possessions, and give the ball away too much, that didn’t help.”
It took only two seconds for the Elkers to score as the opening tip went right to Jake Reynolds, and he went right to the rim for the opening bucket.
That launched an 8-0 run that forced Wassil to take a time out just 45 seconds into the game. He took another timeout a minute and a half later, but it didn’t help as his team fell behind 19-4 after one quarter. The Tide committed seven turnovers in the quarter, 25 in all.
Meanwhile, Wassil’s decision to go with a zone defense forced his team to play in a way they weren’t used to, and Ridgway took advantage in the opening eight minutes. At the same time, he did see his team perform well using the defensive scheme, but realized the mistakes were putting them in a hole that was hard to overcome.
“Early on, even with the score 9-2, I thought defensively we played okay. We just gave them the ball too many times, and that’s been our problem so far this year. It was kind of a situation where I don’t think any defense was going to bother them. I think if we ended up playing man, they would have taken advantage of some of those other guys in the post.
“Reynolds is a really nice player; he can play inside and outside, and any guard we would have on him would be a mismatch. If we tried to put Avery (Francisco) on him, then they have #00 (Matt Dosh) move to the post,” he said. “It was going to be hard, so we figured we’d make them shoot the ball a bit, but they are very well-versed and mentally sound. They don’t take bad shots; they work the ball until they can get a good shot, and eventually that wore us down.”
Curwensville could not find any momentum at any point in the game, as they were ice cold shooting on the night, just 8-for-35 shooting. When the opportunity came for some easy points at the free-throw line, once again the Tide came up empty, finishing 7-for-15. Five of those free shots came from Christian Bakaysa, who finished with a team-high nine points for Curwensville.
Wassil felt that the biggest thing in the first half wasn’t necessarily just making the shots, but more about confidence in the ability his team possesses.
“Early on it may not have made a big difference in the game, but it was more about giving us some energy. We made some plays, and got fouled, but missed the first six free throws, and a couple ‘bunnies’ close (to the basket). I mean it was 29-11 at halftime, but it could have been 29-18 if we make some shots and some (free throws) that you should make, and that would have made it more competitive, and make us feel good about ourselves.”
“Instead, we are down 18, and it is an uphill climb against a team like that.”
Four Elkers ended up in double figures, with Reynolds leading all scoring with 19 points. Will Thompson contributed 14 plus eight rebounds. Dosh and Zack Zameroski each had 12 a piece, with Zameroski adding in another seven boards.
Curwensville also dropped the opening junior varsity contest, 47-20.
Wassil knows his team is in need of improvement, as the frustration was seen multiple times on the sidelines from his assistant coaches, and the remainder of his team. But, rather than make excuses and focus on what the team didn’t do right, he remained calm and made it clear that the focus instead was to get back to work, back to basics, and move forward.
“We’re going to give the guys a day off for Saturday, and come back Sunday to get ready for Penns Manor,” Wassil said.
That game is their third road contest to start the season, with tip off at 6 p.m. for junior varsity, and varsity to follow.
SCORE BY QUARTER
Ridgway 19 10 20 16 – 65
Curwensville 4 7 7 8 – 26
Ridgway – 65
Dosh 6 0-0 12, Do. Allegretto 1 0-0 2, Gresco 0 0-0 0, Reynolds 7 3-4 19, Salberg 0 0-0 0, Rohn 0 0-0 0, Bon 0 0-0 0, Da. Allegretto 0 2-2 2, Zameroski 5 2-3 12, Park 1 2-4 4, Thompson 6 2-4 14, Simon 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 26 11-17 65.
Curwensville – 26
Terry 2 0-0 5, Bloom 1 0-1 3, Irwin 1 0-2 2, Bakaysa 2 5-6 9, Guiffre 0 0-0 0, Lansberry 1 0-0 3, Francisco 0 1-2 1, Condon 0 0-0 0, Miller 1 1-2 3. TOTALS 8 7-15 26.
Three-Point Shots: Reynolds (2)/Bloom, Terry, Lansberry
Golden Tide Scoreboard:
Date Opponent Score Record
12/07 @ Clearfield 32 – 77 0 – 1
12/10 @ Mo Valley 26 – 56 0 – 2
12/14 RIDGWAY 26 – 65 0 – 3
12/17 @ Penns Manor
12/21 @ Leechburg
01/04 @ Brockway
01/08 @ DuBois Central
01/10 @ Harmony
01/15 ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC
01/16 @ West Branch
01/18 @ Kane
01/22 @ Ridgway
01/28 WEST BRANCH
01/30 @ Glendale
02/01 @ Johnsonburg
02/05 DUBOIS CENTRAL
02/11 MO VALLEY