Hounds explode past Carmichaels
Monessen teams have been known for making a big run during a game.
It's the kind that piles up points quickly and snatches a team's heart, bringing out the white submission flag.
This season, the Greyhounds have not looked anything like a typical Monessen team, having lost eight of their first nine games.
However, Tuesday night, the suddenly resurgent Greyhounds showed a glimpse of Monessen teams past in an early season Section 4 A showdown with Carmichaels.
Carmichaels' Sean Smoggie scored five consecutive points in the first quarter to give the Mikes a 5-2 lead. Monessen answered with a 26-2 tear that gave the hosts a 28-7 lead early in the second quarter and the rout was on as Monessen pasted the Mikes, 69-35.
The Greyhounds (5-8, 4-0) have now won four straight section games by an average margin of close to 39 points.
“It was nice to see us explode like that early in the game,” said Monessen coach Joe Salvino. “I think the kids are a lot more confident now and I think they are getting a little more knowledgeable of the game. That's what good competition will do for you.
“When you feel comfortable doing something, you are going to be better at it.”
One player who was comfortable early on for the Greyhounds was Luke Doptis, who scored eight straight points in less than a minute during the spree to give Monessen a 17-7 lead midway through the first quarter.
Doptis scored 19 points for Monessen, 17 in the first half as he hit three three-pointers.
Monessen led 44-13 at halftime and the Greyhounds weren't done picking on the Mikes (11-3, 2-2) at the start of the second half as the hosts scored the first 12 points to open up a 56-13 lead with 6:07 left in the quarter and invoke the mercy rule.
Clintell Gillaspie scored 11 of his 14 points in the third period.
Two other Greyhounds hit for double figures as Tyler Yuille had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Nicodemes Payne had 10 points and six rebounds.
Justice Rawlins had a triple-double for the Greyhounds with 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals.
“The players are playing more together and not selfish,” Salvino. “I think playing the competition we have faced in the section has helped give us confidence. We're playing good defense and we forced 23 turnovers which allowed us to score a lot of easy baskets.”
For the Mikes, their leading scorer Brandon Lawless came into the game averaging 24 ppg but was held scoreless until midway through the third quarter. He finished with 12 points.
“I know it may not have looked that way, but Carmichaels has a nice team,” Salvino said. “They are one of the teams who could win this section.”
Another team who could win the section is the Clairton Bears and the Greyhounds and Bears (6-3, 4-0) will pit unbeaten section records on the line Friday night at Clairton.
“We will find out just how far we have come against Clairton because they are very athletic and I'm sure they will be there looking forward to playing us,” Salvino said.
GAME NOTES: In a basketball rarity, Carmichaels has only two seniors on its roster and the Greyhounds have just one ... Carmichaels' other section loss was to Clairton, 69-52, on Jan. 8 ... Carmichaels made just four field goals in the first half ... Monessen went 9-11 from the foul line.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or email@example.com.