Apollo-Ridge girls hold off Burrell in Section 1-4A opener

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Thursday, December 13, 2018 | 10:51 PM


Amid a flurry of activity as the final seconds ticked off the clock in the first half of Thursday’s Section 1-4A girls basketball opener between Apollo-Ridge and Burrell, Morgan Gamble released a 3-point shot that banked home.

Her successful field goal enabled the Vikings to complete a second-quarter rally from a nine-point deficit and tie the score at the break.

Burrell found itself in a similar situation at the end of the game as it came back from down 14 early in the fourth quarter.

Trailing by three with 5 seconds left, the Bucs had two looks at a 3-pointer.

The first shot by Kaylen Sharrow was off the mark. The second, released by Ally Fisher, was altered by the outstretched hand of Maddie Moore as Apollo-Ridge hung on for a 56-53 victory.

“You have to give Burrell all the credit in the world,” Apollo-Ridge coach Jim Callipare said. “They have a young team, and those girls did a nice job fighting back. We made a lot of mistakes, but we did enough good things to hold on for the win.”

The victory put the Vikings at 4-0 overall ahead of Tuesday’s section matchup against WPIAL Class 4A No. 1 North Catholic.

“We pulled it together at the end and made the plays we needed to,” said forward Madi Marks, one of three Vikings in double figures. She scored 13, including nine in the second half.

“This was a big win for us to begin the section.”

Moore, who finished with eight points, converted a layup with five and half minutes left in the fourth quarter to give Apollo-Ridge its biggest lead of the game at 49-35.

Burrell then began to chip away.

Sharrow scored nine of her game-best 22 points in the fourth quarter. She tallied back-to-back buckets off of two Vikings turnovers as the Bucs drew to within four at 54-50 with 1:25 left.

Moore scored to put Apollo-Ridge up six before Hope Clark answered for Burrell with a 3-pointer with 37 seconds on the clock.

“It says a lot about the character of these girls to battle back the way they did,” said Burrell coach Joel Ceraso, who saw his team slip to 1-3 overall.

“To be honest, I wasn’t sure if we had the firepower to come back from a 14-point deficit. But it was intestinal fortitude. They stepped up and made plays. Everyone did. That was good to see. I think the way they fought back, it will provide confidence for these girls moving forward.”

Both teams faced their share of foul trouble throughout the contest.

Sharrow exited the game with her fourth foul at the 5:22 mark of the third quarter and the game tied at 30. Apollo-Ridge went on a 10-2 run with her on the bench.

Burrell senior Grace Omecinski fouled out with 30 seconds left in the third.

For the Vikings, Moore and senior Liz Penrose each had three by halftime, and Penrose picked up her fourth with 4:14 to go in the third quarter. But Penrose avoided her fifth over the final 12 minutes of play.

Rylee Eaton led Apollo-Ridge with 16 points, including 10 in the third quarter.

Penrose finished with 11.

Fisher drained four 3-pointers for Burrell and ended with 17 points.

“It was a back-and-forth game, and we just were never able to get in sync,” Callipare said. “We didn’t play our best tonight, but we found a way to get it done. They say an ugly win is always better than a pretty loss, and we’ll take it.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-388-5825, mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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