Bishop Carroll again tops WPIAL champion Vincentian
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Vincentian Academy was unbeaten this season against teams not from Ebensburg.
Unbeaten in Section 2, unbeaten in the WPIAL playoffs, but against Cambria County's Bishop Carroll, the WPIAL champion Royals lost twice, including Tuesday's 92-85 defeat in the second round of the PIAA Class A playoffs at Hempfield.
The only blemish on Vincentian's otherwise perfect record returned and ended its season. Otherwise, the Royals were 26-0.
“It was two evenly-matched games, and they played a little better than us twice,” Vincentian coach George Yokitis said. “Maybe they're just better; there's always that possibility.”
Carroll's Marcus Lee, a 6-foot-5 junior, scored 31 points and had 12 rebounds for the District 6 runner-up (23-5). But the Royals weren't surprised. Lee had 20 points and 24 rebounds on Jan 12, when Carroll won, 83-81, at Vincentian.
With a 3-inch advantage over the tallest Vincentian starter, Lee was solid again, including a go-ahead shot with 20 seconds left in the third quarter. His put-back basket highlighted a game-winning 19-6 run that stretched into the fourth.
Lee also was rewarded with easy layups when Carroll broke through Vincentian's trap. The uptempo style wasn't Carroll's typical pace, but it adapted well.
“We kept attacking them,” Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo said. “When we sat back, that's when they trapped.”
Carroll senior Scott Ranck had 27 points, and sophomore Brandon Martinazzi, who scored 30 in the January matchup, had 16.
Vincentian held a 46-44 halftime lead. But less than one minute into the fourth, Carroll was ahead, 69-61.
The gap grew to 11, and narrowed to six with one minute left. Yet, free throws kept Carroll ahead. The Huskies shot 32 and missed only six. They made 13 of 17 in the fourth quarter, including 4 of 5 by Lee.
Ranck scored 11 of his 27 points from the free-throw line and made all four attempts in the fourth.
“It's hard to beat a team that makes that many foul shots,” said Yokitis, whose team made nine of its 15.
Vincentian sophomore Ryan Wolf scored 27 points, junior Jim Kenna had 17, senior Matt Rathz had 14, and senior Tony DiNardo added 11. Wolf had 11 in the fourth when the Royals tried to rally with their defense.
Their trap works best when attacking an opponent's weakest link, forcing turnovers with a chaotic pace. But they found none in Carroll.
“It's not often that you find five kids on the floor who can all handle the basketball,” Yokitis said. “They were all sound. With a team like ours, we sort of prey on the ones who aren't. We couldn't find one.”
“To beat them, you can't have one,” Aliquo said. “They're so good.”
Bishop Carroll moves on to Friday's PIAA quarterfinals, where it will meet WPIAL fourth-place finisher Lincoln Park, a 51-34 winner over Ridgway.
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.
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