Mascaro scores 26 points as Bethel Park routs Upper St. Clair
Asked to explain Tuesday's 72-48 dismantling of Upper St. Clair, a game that saw Bethel Park convert 12 3-pointers, Joe Mascaro and Josh Krafczynski offered a succinct answer.
“Confidence,” the Black Hawks' duo said in unison.
Bethel Park shot with plenty of confidence during the Section 4-AAAA rout.
And it was enough to deal a lopsided loss to the Panthers, who didn't look much like the team that won six of seven section games to open the season.
Mascaro led all scorers with 26 points and made four 3-pointers. Krafczynski added 19 points on five 3-pointers.
“You start getting hot,” Mascaro said, “and let it go.”
The lopsided win was a bit of a head-scratcher for Bethel Park, which improved to 11-4, 6-3.
The Black Hawks were coming off back-to-back losses to Canon-McMillan and Mt. Lebanon, the latter after scoring just 32 points. Bethel Park reached the 32-point mark Tuesday at 5:58 of the second quarter.
Coach Ben O'Connor said he simplified things and asked his players to worry only about themselves.
“I didn't actually have handcuffs. That would be awkward,” O'Connor said. “But I took the ‘handcuffs' off and told them to go play. What I think you saw was a group of Bethel Park guys playing comfortable and with confidence.”
The key sequence came late in the third quarter. After Upper St. Clair used a 6-0 run to creep to within 47-37, Mascaro hit a jumper as he tumbled to the ground. Krafczynski knocked down his fifth 3-pointer then converted a layup off an Anthony Bomar steal.
By the time Mascaro scored on a layup with 7.3 seconds left, Bethel Park's lead was restored, 56-38.
Upper St. Clair (10-5, 6-2) opened with a 7-0 run, but Bethel Park drilled six 3-pointers in the opening quarter, scoring 21 straight points at one point to build a 24-12 lead after one.
The Black Hawks stretched their lead to 36-18 following a putback from Quentin Keibler three minutes into the second quarter.
Bethel Park's R.J. Pfeuffer knocked down a pair of free throws with no time left on the clock to give the Black Hawks a 45-30 edge at halftime.
“We didn't rebound. We didn't defend,” Upper St. Clair coach Danny Holzer said. “We did everything you're supposed to do to lose a game by a lot of points.”
Krafczynski came off the bench to lead Bethel Park with 14 first-half points and hit four 3-pointers. Bethel Park had nine total in that span.
“When you shoot the ball well, it makes coaches look good,” O'Connor said. “There's no magic potion when you have guys who step up and make 3-point shots.”