CURWENSVILLE — In a schoolboy basketball game that basically was decided in the first quarter, Ridgway prevented Curwensville from cracking the win column for the young season with pressure defense and good shooting to win 59-37 in Patton Hall Friday night.
The Elkers, missing several pieces from last season’s 29-2 Allegheny Mountain League and District 9 Class A team but still solid with eight seniors, turned a lot of the Golden Tide’s 25 turnovers into quick points and finished with a 47.7 shooting percentage from the field in their AML-South Division opener.
Jesse Reynolds starred for the 3-1 Elkers with 26 points, including a trio of three-pointers.
The senior guard reeled off Ridgway’s first 13 points , bracketing a soft trey from the right wing with pairs of two-pointers on a jumper, two lay-ups and a drive. Later, he dribbled the final seconds off the clock before swishing a straightaway three-pointer at the buzzer to give the visitors an 18-4 lead.
Curwensville coach Shane Pentz certainly was impressed, hailing Reynolds as one of the top players in the district.
“He’s good off the dribble. He’s good with his feet. And he makes good passes,” Pentz said.
While Reynolds was lighting up the scoreboard in the first period, the Golden Tide could make only one field goal in 13 attempts, a putback by Kyle Johns that momentarily tied the count at 2-2. Two free throws by Tanner Elensky knotted it again for about a minute before Reynolds put the Elkers in front to stay with his first trey.
“When both our guards (Elensky and Brett Gardner) got in foul trouble, we had trouble breaking their press, and they were able to take it to us in the open court with transition baskets off turnovers,” Pentz noted. “And we just couldn’t get into anything offensively.”
Curwensville (0-3, 0-2 AML-South) never seriously threatened in the high-scoring second quarter after Ridgway made it an 18-point run with the first four points, though Elensky tried to provide a spark.
The junior sandwiched two strong moves to the hoop around a jumper from behind the arc to shave the Golden Tide’s deficit to 22-11, but the Elkers answered with a 9-0 run on their way to a 36-20 halftime advantage.
The Golden Tide was an inspired team coming out of the locker room and surged to make it a 38-28 game on Alex Olson’s jumper and steal, Elensky’s drive and Johns’ turnaround jumper.
“We came out with some energy and cut it to 10, but I think we had a couple of turnovers that led to easy baskets, and it went right back up to 14 or 15,” said Pentz, who later was surprised to learn the Golden Tide didn’t score at all over the final 5:25 of the period.
Curwensville was down 50-28 heading into the fourth quarter, when Elensky padded his point total to 18 with two steals for lay-ups.
“Tanner had a good night for us,” Pentz said. “He was able to beat their press off the dribble and get in the lane and score some lay-ups. He also was able to dish off for some easy points for our big guys.”
The Golden Tide made 14 of 44 field goal tries for 31.8 percent.
Johns and Reynolds were the top rebounders with seven apiece as the Elkers sported a 22-18 edge.
“We saw a lot of positives,” Pentz said. “Defensively and rebounding, we still feel like we’ve done pretty well so far.
“We actually had a chance to win the first two games. We were either tied or down by two points late in both games. Tonight, it got away from us early, but that’s an exceptional team we lost to.
“We’re just looking to get better every day. And I think we’ll get there.
Ridgway won the junior varsity game 33-6.
The Golden Tide’s next two outings will be in the Moshannon Valley League, Monday at West Branch and Tuesday at home against Harmony, before closing out its pre-holiday slate with an AML cross-over home game against Kane Friday.
RIDGWAY — 59
Josh Roselli 0 0-1 0, Jesse Reynolds 9 5-6 26, Luke Bobby 1 0-0 2, Josh Mitchell 5 3-4 13, Sam Roselli 3 0-0 6, Robbie Byrd 3 2-2 8, Ben MacDonald 0 0-2 0, Jeremy Breier 0 0-0 0, Joe Horning 0 4-4 4, Mason Stark 0 0-0 0, Dustin Cowan 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 32 14-29 59.
CURWENSVILLE — 37
Brett Gardner 1 1-3 3, Kyle Johns 2 0-0 4, Tanner Elensky 6 5-6 18, Alex Olson 3 0-0 6, Austin Jacobson 0 1-2 1, Trey Rauckhorst 1 0-0 2, Justin Brooks 0 0-0 0, Nate Kurtz 1 0-0 3, Marcus Stephenson 0 0-0 0, Harrison Bloom 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14 7-11 37.
Three-Point Field Goals – Ridgway 3 (Reynolds 3); Curwensville 2 (Elensky, Kurtz).
Score by Quarters
Ridgway 18 19 14 9 - 59
Curwensville 4 16 8 9 - 37
Officials – Tim Barnes and Brian Smeal.
Golden Tide Scoreboard:
|12/07||@ Clearfield||ppd.||0 – 0|
|12/10||@ Clearfield||37 – 42||0 – 1|
|12/11||@ Brockway||32 – 45||0 – 2|
|12/14||RIDGWAY||37 – 59||0 – 3|
|12/17||@ West Branch|