Rigby’s “Three” sends Bristol home a winner
BucksLocalSports Editor While he is the kicker for the football team, junior Ryan Rigby is a much more integral player for the Warriors basketball team.
ln Tuesday, Dec. 18 against Bicentennial Athletice League (BAL), Lower Moreland, Rigby saved the day — and the game, favor: Bristol.
With the Warriors trailing 42-41, Rigby hit a layup and an enusuing free throw to put Bristol on top by two points with three seconds to go in the game. Playing off a screen set at the top of the key, it was senior Sean Coughlin who fed Rigby with the pass that led to the winning points.
“Sean Coughlin made a very nice pass off of a high screen to Ryan, who pitched the layup and drew the contact and made a three-point play,” explained head coach Frank Sciolla of the winning bucket.
“It was a clutch job by both of them and Ryan has really made a number of plays like that in the early going in his career.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Rigby immediately jumped back on defense and blocked a Lions shot at the buzzer that might have tied the game at 44 and sent it into overtime.
Instead, the Warriors escaped the Montgomery County gym with a twopoint victory, pushing Bristol to 3-2 overall, 2-1 in the BAL.
Senior Moe Towner led the scoring effort for the Warriors with 12 points.
“Being not that big you have to be perfect in terms of where you are on the floor. Moe has been key with that,” Sciolla stated.
“He’s been good, forcing deflections, he’s rebounded well and he’s made some really big shots.”
“He’s had a knack for that this year.”
Rigby and Trevor Leone were next in line with nine points each. Senior Sean Coughlin along with juniors Ryan Weinkopff and Chad Palmer chipped in with four points, each. Sophomore Aidan Coughlin added a pair.
Joe Levanthal led Lower Moreland with 13 points.
It’s no surprise, said Sciolla, that Rigby is stepping up at Bristol. Coach says the junior forward came through for the Warriors last season when Mike Mcduire went down with a seasonending injury in January.
“He really had some good moments for us last year,” said Sciolla. “vou have to respect it because he’s so undersized.
“lur team is undersized and he’s consistently [playing] against a guy that’s two to six to seven inches bigger than him.
“He’s not a high flyer but he’s a guy who is very poised. He uses his body and he makes shots.
“He makes shots at different angles. ln this one, he made a nice catch and a lefty layup and got fouled.”
Palmer was another player who stepped up at Bristol last season as a sophomore. Averaging over six pointsper-game, Palmer was named First Team All-BAL Constitution when the season ended. Coach says because of that, opponents are devising their game plans with Palmer in mind.
“Teams are aware who Chad is this year,” Sciolla explained.
“He is going to score more as the year goes on but right now, teams are really keying on him.
“They build their defense on keeping him out of the lane.”
The fact that Bristol doesn’t come to the court with a significant amount of height also hurts the War-
“You can sell out on penetration because we are not coming at you with a lot of size,” said Sciolla “We’re not hammering the glass.
“[Opposing defenses] are stepping out and taking Chad away.”
Sciolla says the Warriors need to work more on spacing in order to get Palmer more open looks at the basket.
“We need to work more on developing different looks and putting him in different spots.”
While he scored just four points in the win at Lower Moreland, Palmer drove the lane and got fouled then made two big free throws to cut the home team’s edge to a single point with 90 seconds to go in the Lower Moreland game.
The play of Weinkopff has ignited the Warriors at times this year, the coach says.
“Ryan’s energy level has been absolutely tremendous; he competes on every possession and on every rebound.”
“He has been a tremendous help to us in the early going as we’re trying to get our feet.”
Sean Coughlin has also played well, the coach said. And that is surprising given the fact Couglin was a key player on the football team.
“Sean has been great as a leader and has improved his decision-making process from last year in terms of when to go and when not to go.”
Leone is another player coming off the gridiron who is contributing.
“Trev is a very good shooter; he’s also rebounding the ball well,” said Sciolla.
Hurt early on in the duel with Church Farm, Leone came back and contributed to this win, draining a shot from beyond the arc in the closing stretch of the battle.
The win over the Lions comes on the heels of an 11-point loss to new BAL entry Church Farm School which outpaced Bristol, 4534 Dec. 15 in enemy territory. The Warriors previous league win came Dec. 7 in its own Coaches vs. Cancer Tipoff Tournament.
Bristol outscored Morrisville 66-43 in that one. After dropping the tipoff tourney title tilt to Conwell-Egan, the Warriors rebounded Dec. 13 with a 42-20 win at George School.
Next, Bristol outpaced BAL rival New Hope-Solebury Friday, Dec. 21 by a 60-50 score. Towner led the Warriors’ attack with 17 points, Palmer added 12 while Sean Coughlin and Rigby came through with nine, each. After the Christmas holiday, Bristol takes a trip to the Jersey shore Saturday Dec. 29 at Wildwood Convention Center where they will face Ocean City in a 12:30 p.m. matchup as part of the Boardwalk Basketball Classic.
Opposing defenses have been keying on Bristol junior Chad Palmer.
Bristol senior Sean Coughlin (R) is stepping up for the Warriors.