Turnovers doom McKeesport boys in season-opening loss to Greensburg Catholic Central

| Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, 11:54 p.m.

Greensburg Central Catholic is getting tested early, and the defending WPIAL Section 3-AA champs responded well in their opener Friday night, beating Class AAAA McKeesport, 70-67, in the opening round of the Hempfield Tipoff Tournament.

Brian Graytok scored 24 points, and Christian Hyland added 15 for GCC (1-0), which held off a late McKeesport rally.

“Our kids know how to play the game, and they know how to play together,” GCC coach Greg Bisignani said. “McKeesport played hard and is a very athletic bunch.”

McKeesport (0-1) committed 22 turnovers yet still was in position to tie the game in the closing seconds. However, the rebound of a missed GCC free throw with 4.1 seconds left went out of bounds, off of a McKeesport player. GCC ran out the clock after the Tigers pulled within 69-67 on a 3-pointer by Jordon Payne.

“We can't have that many turnovers,” McKeesport coach Corey Gadson said. “They have a good team, and they play well together. They got a lot of easy baskets.

“I'm not worried about our scoring. I'm worried about our defense. You can't let teams get easy shots.”

GCC, which lost to District 10 Lakeview in the first round of the 2012-13 PIAA playoffs, advances to meet another Class AAAA school, No. 5 Hempfield, on Saturday in the tournament's final round. McKeesport faces Class AA No. 4 Jeannette.

“You want to get better as the season goes on, and games against teams like these can only prepare you for that,” Bisignani said.

GCC rallied from a five-point halftime deficit to take the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Hyland with 5:08 left in the third quarter. The Centurions pushed the margin to nine but couldn't pull away.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by William Gadson and Demetrius Diggs got McKeesport within 57-54, but GCC held on.

After Payne's 3-pointer made it a two-point game, Hyland was fouled and made the first shot. His second bounced off the rim and glanced off a McKeeport player's hand and out of bounds.

Collin Bisignani added 13 points, and Billy Hipp had 10 for GCC.

Edward Tyson paced McKeesport with 16 points, including 13 during a 27-point second quarter when the Tigers overcame an 11-point deficit to take a 50-45 lead at the breeak.

GCC built a 29-18 lead early in the second quarter before McKeesport went on an attack. The Tigers scored 11 consecutive points to pull even on a three-point play by Tyson, who scored 10 points during the flurry.

After a Cole Reese layup put GCC back in front, Gadson converted a three-point play and, moments later, scored off a steal to put McKeesport ahead 34-31.

“When we went to our zone defense in the second quarter, that really helped us,” Corey Gadson said. “We ran our sets, we showed some things, but it's early.

“That's what first games are about.”

Gadson added 13 points, Khalil Perdue scored 12 and Payne had 11 for McKeesport.

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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