Monessen Greyhounds, Gillaspie roll to rout
Monessen coach Joe Salvino has been in the business long enough to know that you can't get too excited about blowout wins over outmanned teams.
However, when the veteran mentor talked about what 6-1 junior Clintell Gillaspie did against Mapletown in the Greyhounds' 66-29 Section 3 A rout Thursday night, he had a hard time hiding his excitement.
And at the same time, his disappointment.
“I told Clintell at halftime that he is an absoulte freak of nature,” Salvino said. “The kid has so much natural ability that it isn't even funny. He can do amazing things.
“The problem is he doesn't give 110 percent every time. He very well could be the best basketball player we've had if he only worked harder. As good as he is, he hasn't even begun to tap his potential and I really, really wish he would. He could go somewhere if he worked at it.”
All Gillaspie did against the Maples (5-15, 3-6) is score 28 points and grab seven rebounds. He had 16 in the first half when Monessen raced to a 44-10 lead.
Gillaspie then scored Monessen's first seven points of the third quarter, including a basket on a tip-in with 5:16 to play to give the Greyhounds (9-11, 7-2) a 51-10 lead and kick in the continuous clock.
Also for the Greyhounds, 6-5 freshman Nickodemus Payne had 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
Teammate Tyler Yuille did not score, but pulled down 11 rebounds and blocked four shots.
Salvino says he normally doesn't enjoy being in blowout games of this nature, but added, “When the kids are really working hard together and they are happy playing the game, then I like watching that.”
Mapletown was led by Derek Riggleman with 17 points.
Monessen hosts Clairton in a girls/boys doubleheader Saturday for the school's senior day festivities. The girls play at 1 p.m., with the boys tipping off at 2:30 p.m.
“I would really like to see us show the effort and intensity Saturday that we showed tonight,” said Salvino.
GirlsSerra 60, Frazier 19
Frazier (9-11, 4-6) was no match for the Section 4 A champion Lady Eagles (18-2, 10-0) as Lindsay Muschar scored 14 points and Danielle Dindak added 12.
Serra took an 18-7 lead after one quarter and blew the game open by outscoring Frazier 17-2 in the second quarter for a 35-9 halftime lead.
Lauren Timko and Kaley Barota each had six points for Frazier.
The Lady Commodores' lone hope to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs would be for Monessen (8-11, 5-4) to defeat Clairton (7-12, 4-5) on Saturday and allow Frazier to finish tied for fourth with Clairton in the section.
Avella 41, California 37
There was good news and bad news for the Lady Trojans in their Section 3 A finale. The bad news was the disappointing loss, but the good news is that they welcomed back second-leading scorer Tristen Conaway.
Conaway has been out for more than two weeks after suffering a concussion. She scored 12 points in her return.
California (14-7, 5-5) was led by Courtnee McMasters with 18 points, leaving her 16 shy of reaching 1,000.
Section champ Avella (13-8, 9-1) was led by Jenna Drazich with 24 points.
California closes the regular season Monday at home with a girls/boys doubleheader against Neighborhood Academy.
The girls' game tips off at 6 p.m., with the boys starting at 7:30 p.m.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.