Graytok's 44 points lead Greensburg Central Catholic past Serra
Serra Catholic tried to use a gimmick defense in an attempt to shut down Greensburg Central Catholic's dangerous twosome of Brian Graytok and Zach Herman.
It was somewhat effective, as Herman was held to 11 points, well below his 20.1 points-per-game season average.
Then again, as it turned out, Graytok more than picked up the slack as the junior guard went wild with a career-best 44 points to lead Greensburg Central Catholic (12-1, 5-0) to an 85-69 romp over visiting Serra Catholic (10-2, 3-2) in the first of their Section 3-AA meetings.
“Basically, we keyed on their two players, Herman and Graytok, and we were 50/50 on them,” Serra Catholic coach Vince Gibbons said. “On Herman, we did a good job. On Graytok we did not. He's a very capable player, but at the end of the day, we had to go to man-to-man because we got in a hole.”
Serra came out of the gate in a triangle-and-two hoping to shut down two of the top eight scorers in Class AA. Instead Graytok scored the first four points of the game and helped Greensburg Central Catholic jump out to an 18-6 lead with 3:02 remaining in the first quarter.
“We have two kids that, by far, lead our team in scoring and they put a triangle-and-two on them and our kids did a good job adjusting to it,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Greg Bisignani said. “We penetrated and got an early lead, and they couldn't stay in it and that was one of the keys.”
Despite falling behind early, the Eagles nearly dug themselves out of the hole in the third quarter. Behind 20 points from Tyler Grebur, they chipped away at the Greensburg Central Catholic lead until, with 3:13 left in the third quarter, they had cut it to a 46-42 deficit.
Serra Catholic trailed 50-45 after Max Kaminski hit one of two from the line as part of his 14 points, when Greensburg Central Catholic shook off the Eagles for good. Centurions sub Corey Marshall hit a layup, then Serra Catholic turned it over on three consecutive possessions, all of which Greensburg Central Catholic turned into points — including a 3-pointer from Romano Sebastiani — as it ended the period on a 9-0 run to take a 59-45 lead into the fourth quarter.
“I have to give a lot of credit to our bench players at that point because it was Zach Guiser, Sebastiani and Marshall that pushed it at the end,” Bisignani said. “I wanted to give our starters a break, and they came in with fresh legs and wanted to pick up the tempo a bit and they did a great job.”
For Serra Catholic, the team is looking at this loss as a second learning experience after a loss to an elite Class AA section opponent. This is the first year the Eagles have played in this classification after many years in Class A and there has been a bit of a learning curve beginning on Jan. 4 with a 77-62 loss at Jeannette.
“After losing at Jeannette and GCC and going through the growing pains, we don't have any excuses now,” Gibbons said. “We just have to play better. You play Geibel, and Leechburg and Vincentian for years and you win more often than not and you get a certain degree of comfort, but now you're playing the big boys and it's different.”