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For first time ever, two Bishop Guilfoyle products play on same team in men’s Division I hoops games

Luke Ruggery and A.J. Labriola

This has not been a good week for the Saint Francis basketball team, but it has been an historic week for the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School boys basketball program.

For what’s believed to be the first time ever, two BG alums have played in the same game for the same Division I men’s basketball team.

Luke Ruggery is a scholarship player for the Red Flash, while A.J. Labriola is a walk-on. Both saw action in SFU’s 76-51 loss at No. 15 Virginia on Tuesday, so that game actually made history for the BG program. Ruggery went scoreless in 12 minutes against the Cavaliers, while Labriola had one rebound in two minutes of action.

Thursday night, Ruggery and Labriola both played in Saint Francis’ 78-62 loss at Liberty. Ruggery hit two 3-pointers, the first of his college career, and finished with six points in nine minutes. Labriola played two minutes and did not record any stats.

Ruggery and Labriola both played for BG when it was a Class 2A team, so to make it from that level to Division I is a challenge. The Marauders are competing at the 3A level this year.

LISTEN: Bishop Guilfoyle coach Chris Drenning on having two alums on the same team at the Division I level:

The Red Flash ran into a very good team — one already with wins over Mississippi State and South Carolina — and the Flames also were playing the first game in their brand new 4,000-seat Liberty Arena. Liberty started the game 1-of-13 from 3, then hit 10 of its next 17 from deep to win easily.

Saint Francis played once again without starting point guard Ramiir Dixon-Conover, who’s out with an ankle injury. Coach Rob Krimmel said Dixon-Conover is making progress and getting better.

The Flash, who have dropped three in a row since a season-opening win at Pitt, open Northeast Conference play Tuesday at Mount St. Mary’s.

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As for the Bishop Guilfoyle connection, here’s what Krimmel had to say about Ruggery and Labriola:

On Ruggery hitting two 3s: “It was great to see that ball go in for him. … It takes the pressure off, takes the lid off. He hit that first 3, and then he comes back and he banked one. He didn’t call that, by the way. But I think it’s a confidence thing. It really is. … He’s such a hard worker, and to see that ball go in, for him a big confidence boost. And our guys are pulling for him. Even those two that he missed, our guys were pulling for him. And those are good shots for him.”

On Labriola getting some playing time: “A.J. is back in great shape, and as a kid that we’re calling the best cutter in the state, he cuts off the ball really well. For a couple years he gave us the look on the scout team, and right now he’s on our travel roster at this point. If we would need to put him in, I have competence he’s going to play hard, he’s gonna execute our system and is a kid that has been able to make some shots and practice. We brought him on this trip to hopefully get him just a few minutes so that down the road, he’d have those minutes instead of having to put him in a game in the middle of January.”

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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