Super sub Irwin sparks Hounds
MONESSEN — Any coach would give his eye teeth to get 23 points from his bench players in a basketball game.
But when those 23 points come from just one player, well, that's special.
Then, again, Jaisen Irwin isn't your typical bench player.
The talented 6-4 senior continues to play the role of sixth man for the unbeaten Monessen like an All-American as he scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Monessen's 85-56 romp over Seton-La Salle in a Section 3 AA opener Friday night.
Irwin came off the bench to spark the Greyhounds (4-0, 1-0) in the opening quarter with nine points as the hosts raced to a 23-14 lead. He entered the game with Monessen ahead 6-2 and scored six points in an 11-2 run that upped the lead to 17-4.
"He played a good game for us, for sure. He has always had that ability," said Monessen coach Joe Salvino. "As long as he knows his role on this team -- as long as they all know their roles -- this team can be very successful."
Another sub who caught Salvino's attention was Vinnie Scirotto, who hit two three-pointers in the first quarter.
"Vinnie hit those two threes early on and that was a spark for us," Salvino said. "Again, it's when people do the things we need them to do that it all works for us."
In the second quarter, Earl Pinkney scored 11 of his 13 points and Monessen blew the game open.
With Pinkney doing most of the damage, the Greyhounds took a commanding 50-24 lead with 1:37 left in the half and Seton-La Salle (2-2, 0-1) never got closer than 17 points the rest of the night.
Jalen Madison also hit double figures for Monessen in a solid game as he scored 13 points and had six assists and four steals.
The Rebels were led by Tim Plansinis with 22 points, 13 in the second half. Dale Clancy added 12.
Salvino said he is pleased with where his team is after four games, noting, "We're getting better, but we can't be satisfied. A lot of guys are hustling and when we play good defense, that is what makes our offense go."
Of course, the veteran coach always finds areas for improvement and said the Greyhounds' biggest weakness at this point is themselves.
"We can't afford to play lazy. At times, we do. Everyone will be shooting for us and we have to come with the intensity that great teams have every single night," he said. "And we have to play one game at a time. We can't afford to look past anyone."
Monessen resumes play at home today against Linsly (W.Va.) School. The game tips off at 2 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Tyler Young had nine points, four assists and four steals and was praised for his defense by Salvino ... Chavas Rawlins, who grabbed eight rebounds, had one of Monessen's four dunks. Irwin had the other three ... Pinkney scored all of his 13 points in the first half.