Acie's long-range shooting propels McKeesport past Bethel Park in OT
TribLIVE Sports Videos
If it was up to McKeesport basketball coach Corey Gadson, he would rather pound the ball inside over any other style of play.
But Gadson has been around long enough to know there are other ways to win games, and after Saturday's first-round WPIAL Class AAAA playoff contest, Gadson is a firm believer in Carlitto's way — and so is Bethel Park coach Ben O'Connor.
Carlitto Acie scored 25 of his career-high 28 points within a 15-minute span that included six 3-pointers, and his Reggie Miller-like performance in the third quarter — he scored eight points in 55 seconds — helped No. 11 McKeesport upset Bethel Park for the second time in five days, 58-54, in an overtime game that featured 26 ties or lead changes.
It was McKeesport's fourth overtime game this year.
“The story of the game was Carlitto Acie,” O'Connor said. “He punched us even before we could react. My hat goes off to him. I love the way Corey Gadson coaches, but Carlitto Acie is the MVP — emotionally, physically, his shooting and just his presence on the court.”
McKeesport (15-7) converted 7 of 12 free throws in overtime, including three by Acie, and Jamie Grayson and held Bethel Park scoreless until the final 24 seconds of overtime to advance to Saturday's quarterfinals against No. 3 Hampton (19-4), a 53-48 winner over Mt. Lebanon.
Even though McKeesport didn't convert a field goal over the final 9:38, the Tigers made 9 of 17 free throws during that span that supplemented their nine 3-pointers in the game.
The Tigers, who beat Bethel Park, 58-51, a week ago, raised their two-game, 3-pointer total against the Black Hawks to 16. Acie, whose previous high this year was 17 points during a December win over Plum, was 6 of 8 from behind the arc.
“I was in the zone … that's exactly what it was,” Acie said. “I was real focused coming into this game and just felt it.”
Gadson saw this before from Acie, so he knew what to do.
“When he gets like that, you just ride it out,” Gadson said.
Jordon Payne added nine points for McKeesport. Grayson and Matt Sutton chipped in seven apiece.
Bethel Park was led by Cody Gilchrist's 22. Rohan Young added 15, and Wyatt Hagerty had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
McKeesport trailed by seven early in the second half when an 11-0 spurt in a 2:12 span gave the Tigers a lead they wouldn't relinquish mostly, because of their 3-point shooting. The Tigers' final six field goals were 3-pointers.
Still, Bethel Park battled back in the fourth and had chances to win the game in regulation.
Down 51-50, Josh Kracfynzski's 3-pointer with a minute left was off the mark and Gilchrist's 15-footer with less than 20 seconds was short. But an offensive rebound by Hagerty on Gilchrist's miss and subsequent foul gave the Black Hawks a chance to go ahead at the foul line.
However, the 6-foot-11 center missed one of two that sent the game into overtime only after a desperation shot at the buzzer by McKeesport missed.
“I looked in their eyes, and they had the look like we've been here,” Gadson said. “Those overtime games definitely helped us, even though we lost a couple. We knew how we lost, and we showed them on tape what mistakes we made and how we were killing ourselves in OT.”
Acie was fouled driving to the basket and converted both foul shots with 2:45 left. Acie converted another free throw a minute later, and Grayson made two more with 40 seconds left to seal the victory for the Tigers.
“We played tough down the stretch to tie it up but couldn't carry it over into overtime,” O'Connor said. “In the end, Carlitto Acie was the difference.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.