Do-or-die challenge

Ritter’s clutch basket lifts Mahoning boys

By Tom Williams


Talk about a do-or-die situation. The Mahoning/Trumbull showdown in the annual Frank Bubba Classic at Warren Harding High School was tied with 12.7 seconds remaining.

Anthony Ritter’s Mahoning squad had possession. The twist?

The high school all-star game was being played with a defensive bonus. Every time a team was stopped, a point was awarded to other squad.

So when Ritter took possession with about eight seconds to go, he faced an unusual situation — score the winning points or miss his shot, giving Trumbull a point and the win.

As Ritter looked for space or help, his coach, Sebring’s Josh Scott, hollered “last shot.”

Ritter didn’t miss, hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Mahoning the 124-121 victory.

“That’s probably the best [three] ball I’ve ever shot,” the South Range senior said. “It felt so good coming off [my hands], I knew it was going in.”

Ritter’s basket capped an amazing comeback as Mahoning trailed 74-47 at halftime.

“All coaching,” Scott joked after the wacky all-star game that tried to pay tribute to defense.

LaBrae’s Chad Kiser made his move when Trumbull trailed 121-118. After a 3-point try, Warren Harding’s Lynn Bowden was fouled and “injured.” Kiser rushed Champion’s Lucas Nasonti into the game as a substitute free thrower. Nasonti hit all three, then Bowden returned for the final sequence.

Despite the score, Ritter said the defense “was much better that the last all-star game.”

He was referring to last week’s Al Beach Classic, won by Trumbull, 73-72.

Ritter called Tuesday’s game “much more intense and much more fun, too.”

Struthers’ Andrew Carbon led Mahoning with 20 points and Boardman’s John Ryan netted 15.

Warren JFK’s Antonio McQueen and Justin Bofenkamp led Trumbull with 20 and 19 points, respectively.

Another twist was a skills contest whose concept looked to be lifted from the NHL All-Star Skills Competition. After dribbling around stationary players, the contestants had to knock a ball off a traffic cone then race downcourt to shoot a 3-pointer and a free throw.

Warren JFK’s Antonella LaMonica made her free throw to defeat Windham’s Lexi Knight.

LaMonica found out about the skills test during the first half of their game, won by Mahoning-Portage, 46-39.

“They told me right before we did it,” LaMonica said. “It was a lot of fun.”

LaBrae’s Tyriq Drake won the same way against Ursuline’s Anise Algahmee.

Champion’s Abby White sank 18 to win the girls 3-pointer contest. Bristol’s Tommy Donadio made 17 to win the boys competition.

Mahoning’s girls were coached by Jackson-Milton’s staff. Bluejays senior Ashley Totanti said it was special to play one last time for Pat Keney and Dave Crismon.

“When I found out they were coaching, I was so happy,” said Totani who enjoyed a bonus by playing with her twin sister Kaitlyn who is recovering from mononucleosis.

Boardman’s Lauren Gabriele and Garfield’s Grayson Rose each scored seven for Mahoning-Portage. Kayla Barreca led Trumbull with eight.

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