DuBOIS — DuBois Central Catholic trailed just once, midway through the opening quarter, as they held off a fourth-quarter surge by Ridgway to secure a 39-31 victory at home Tuesday.
After a 3-pointer by Abbey Pettenati put the Lady Cardinals in front by eight at 31-23 near the midway point of the fourth, Eve Cobaugh took over to get the Lady Elkers back in the game.
Cobaugh scored Ridgway’s next six points on a pair of free throws followed by baskets on back-to-back possessions to lead the Lady Elkers on a 6-2 run and cut the deficit to four at 35-31 with 2:34 left to play.
After a stop on the defensive end on DCC’s following trip down the court, Ridgway had an opportunity to cut into the lead further, but it was unable to convert on a shot inside the paint as the Lady Cardinals took over possession.
DuBois Central then closed out the game by going 4 of 7 from the free-throw line over the final 1:17 of the fourth quarter, as a couple timely offensive rebounds and defensive stops by the Lady Cardinals kept Ridgway off the board down the stretch.
“That’s an advantage we perceived we had coming in, was a nice size advantage on the inside,” DuBois Central Catholic head coach Jordan Hoover said. “We did what we had to do to win the game and I was happy with that.”
Hoover noted that Ridgway has the ability to cause problems on the other end with a lot of talented perimeter shooters, but felt his team did well limiting that aspect of the Lady Elkers’ game.
Both teams used a full-court press at times throughout the game, as a key difference was the Lady Cardinals’ ability to break the press and get open looks at the other end.
“That was a game where we wanted as much tempo as we could possibly gather,” Hoover said. “I thought we had good opportunities on our run outs, some of them we finished and some of them we didn’t.”
“I thought the pace of the game was fine, but it’s just surprising that it turned out to be 39-31 because it also felt like a grind at the same time,” Hoover added.
The Lady Cardinals coach said his team did well on the fast break, but also felt his team executed well when they were forced to run their half-court offense.
The two sides traded scores in the opening quarter, as Alyssa Bittner got the scoring started for the Lady Cardinals with a basket inside on the opening possession of the game after winning the opening tip-off.
Ridgway’s lone point in the first four minutes of the game came on a Gabbi Rohr free throw, as Christina Fullem hit the team’s first field goal at the 3:49 mark of the opening quarter to put the Lady Elkers in front 4-3, which turned out to be their only lead of the night.
Just 11 seconds later, Maia Cogley converted an open look inside to put the Lady Cardinals in front 5-4, a lead which they never gave up the remainder of the night.
Ridgway did however tie the game at seven to end the first quarter, closing out the frame on a 4-0 run on buckets by Alyssa Kasmierski and Cobaugh in the closing minute and a half.
The Lady Cardinals responded with a run of their own, opening the second quarter on an 11-0 to take a double-digit lead.
Ashley Wruble got the run started by hitting a three-pointer in the opening minute, as Shayleigh Gulvas followed with a pair of made shots before Bittner scored four-straight points on a pair of free throws and a bucket on the inside to stretch DCC’s lead to 18-7 with 2:42 left to play in the first half.
The Lady Elkers closed the gap slightly heading into the half by ending the quarter on a 6-0 run on field goals by Julie Peterson and Kasmierski, as well as a pair of free throws from Fullem, as DCC held a 18-13 lead at the half.
After a bucket from Woodford helped Ridgway cut the deficit to 20-17 at the 5:29 mark of the third quarter, the Lady Cardinals closed out the frame on a 6-2 run to take a seven-point lead into the final quarter of play.
Bittner and Wruble each went 2 of 2 from the free-throw line during the run, while Cogley hit a shot on the inside for DCC.
As a team, the Lady Cardinals finished the night 11 of 16 at the free-throw line, while Ridgway went 5 of 10 at the foul line.
Bittner finished with a game-high 12 points and added eight rebounds for DCC, while Gulvas added seven and Wruble and Pettenati each chipped in six points.
Gulvas opened the fourth quarter with a bucket for DCC, as the Lady Elkers responded with back-to-back baskets from Woodford and Fullem to cut the Lady Cardinals’ lead to 28-23 with 5:11 left to play.
That is when Pettenati responded with a 3-pointer from the corner to push the lead back out to eight on the following trip down the court.
Ridgway then fought back behind the play of Cobaugh, but came up just a couple plays short, as the Lady Cardinals held on to secure the 39-31 win.
“We missed a lot of easy shots tonight and I think cleaning some of those up it would have been a different game,” Ridgway head coach Kyle Gordon said. “That was throughout the game, whether in the first quarter or fourth quarter, you look back at missed lay ups and those opportunities.”
The Lady Elkers coach added that while his team struggled converting on the inside in the loss, those problems are easy fixes moving forward.
“There was a lot of back and forth to the game and it was competitive,” Gordon said. “It could have been anybody’s game here tonight and I’m looking forward to the rematch.”
Cobaugh finished the night with a team-high 10 points for the Lady Elkers, as Fullem and Kasmierksi each added six points.
Fullem and Kasmierski also finished the night in double figures on the boards with 11 and 10 rebounds respectively.
Hoover said a key part of his team’s defensive game plan was to limit the playmaking ability of Ridgway’s Rohr, who finished the night with three points.
“We sent traps at her (Rohr) in a lot of different situations and we were thinking as long as we could get the ball out of her hands and pressure the person after that we thought we had a pretty good chance,” Hoover said.
Ridgway is back in action Thursday as it travels to Elk County Catholic, while DuBois Central Catholic plays host to Sheffield Friday.