Char Valley roughs up Monessen, 85-43

Monessen's Justice Rawlins drives around Chartiers Valley's Josh Lapiana.  Paul Saunders photo
Monessen's Justice Rawlins drives around Chartiers Valley's Josh Lapiana. Paul Saunders photo
| Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Monessen started the season the same way it does every year, playing the best competition from the biggest classifications in the WPIAL.

This year it was Chartiers Valley High School, a perennial power in Class AAAA and AAA, in the Upper Saint Clair Tip-Off Tournament. And the Greyhounds took this one on the chin, losing, 85-43.

Like Monessen, Chartiers Valley dropped a classification this year. Unlike Monessen, Chartiers Valley returned with a an experienced team. Monessen, on the other hand, lost its top seven players that played all the way to the WPIAL AA championship a year ago. Monessen started three juniors and two freshmen: Justice Rawlins, Javon Brown and Clintell Gillaspie and freshmen Lavelle Rush and Nicodemus Payne.

“These games are a learning experience. I just want the kids to play hard and keep their heads up,” Monessen coach Joe Salvino said. “I don't think a lot of my players are used to the speed of the game.”

The game started off slowly with Chartiers Valley employing a full court press against the Greyhounds. Chartiers Valley opened up a 6-2 lead before Monessen scored back-to-back baskets to tie it up at 6-6. Then, Chartiers Valley flexed its muscles and went on a 13-2 run to end the first quarter up 21-8.

The Greyhounds scored the first basket of the second quarter before the Colts scored 6 straight to up the score to 27-10. With the score 29-14, Chartiers Valley used another 10-0 run to go up 39-14 before the Greyhounds had a 7-0 run of their own to go into halftime down 39-21.

The second half opened up with Chartiers Valley using a 12-2 run and then outscoring the Greyhounds 18-5 to take a 69-28 lead into the fourth. The running clock was then instituted for the rest of the game.

The Colts pulled their starters after a minute went by in the fourth and Salvino also gave his bench time on the floor.

Matty McConnell led Chartiers Valley with 19 points, 13 coming in the first half. Michael Boulos had 18, also with 13 in the first half. Spencer Casson and Haedyn Herzer chipped in with 10 each. Gillaspie was the lone Greyhound in double figures with 12 points.

Monessen resumes play in the tournament today at 2 p.m. against Franklin Regional, a 58-40 loser to host Upper St. Clair.

Naz Victoria is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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