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Red-hot Monessen keeps rolling

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Jim Ference / The Valley Independent
Monessen basketball coach Joe Salvino is looking ahead to the PIAA playoffs after his Greyhounds won WPIAL gold Friday night.
Top high school sports
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

In 30 years of coaching, Joe Salvino has done a lot.

He's won numerous section titles, He's won WPIAL and PIAA titles. He's coached a ton of 1,000-point scorers.

One thing he never did was address the opposing team after a game.

Until Friday night.

After Monessen disposed of visiting Geibel, 81-31, in a Section 3 A contest, the Greyhounds' mentor was not in his dressing room talking to his own team.

Instead, he gave a heartfelt speech to the young Gators across the hall.

“I've never done that before, but (Geibel coach Bill Hughes) asked me if I would talk to his team after the game and I was glad to,” Salvino said. “He's a young coach, a good guy. His team is working hard and I never want to see a kid get discouraged. That's one of the things I told them.”

The Greyhounds (11-4, 5-0) put two big runs on the Gators (2-12, 1-5) in the first half that put the game away.

In the first quarter, Monessen went on a 19-4 run over a four-minute period to take a 19-7 lead as Clintell Gillaspie scored seven points.

In the second quarter, the hosts exploded on a 23-0 run that opened a commanding 46-12 lead as Gillaspie scored 13.

Gillaspie led four Greyhounds in double figures with 26 points.

Also hitting double figures were Javon Brown (14), Jaden Altomore (12) and Lavelle Rush (10).

Geibel was led by James Ewing with seven points.

“I never like these games because I'd rather see us have to compete hard,” Salvino said. “I don't want to knock Geibel because they are very young and doing the best they can. But even though we put a couple of good runs on them in the first half, I didn't think we always played as hard as we could.”

Salvino acknowledged.

“I told the kids that (Geibel) has a different color jersey on. You can't let up. I understand the circumstances, but in the playoffs things won't come this easy.”

In the second half, Tyler Yuille scored off a tip-in with 5:55 to go in the third quarter and Monessen invoked the mercy rule with a 55-14 lead.

The Greyhounds, who are riding an eight-game winning streak and have won 11 of the last 12, are scheduled to resume play today at home with a girls-boys doubleheader against Avella. The girls' game tips off at 1 p.m.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or

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