Greyhounds race to 3 A title
If Tuesday night's Section 3 A basketball game is any indication, Monessen is ready for the start of the WPIAL playoffs.
The Greyhounds clinched the section title in convincing fashion, running second-place Carmichaels out of the gym, 84-55.
Monessen (15-5, 9-0) was impressive on both ends of the court, forcing numerous turnovers against by the Mikes (14-2, 6-2) on the defensive end and then turning many of those turnovers into points.
Offensively, four Greyhounds hit four double figures, led by Clintell Gillaspie with 24 points, Javon Brown with 15, Lavelle Rush with 13 and Justice Rice with 11.
“I thought we played with a lot of intensity right from the start and we hustled on both ends of the floor,” said Monessen coach Joe Salvino. “I always say that our best offense is our defense and we forced a lot of mistakes by them. I'm really pleased with how we played.”
The Greyhounds went on a 10-0 run to open a quick 14-4 lead and rolled to a 32-13 advantage by the end of the first quarter.
Monessen kept the pressure up in the second quarter and took a comfortable 47-31 lead into halftime as Brown had 11 points, Gillaspie 10 and Rush seven.
In the third quarter, the Greyhounds put the game away with a 23-7 spree. They upped the lead to 70-38 with 2:42 left on a 3-pointer by Noah Rullo.
The lead ballooned to 41 points late in the game (92-51) when Brandon Lenhart hit a 3-pointer.
Carmichaels, which has two of its three losses courtesy of Monessen, was led by Brandon Lawless with 21 points. Ty Cole and Cory Fuller each added 10.
While Salvino was pleased that his team wrapped up another section title, he told the players they should have greater aspirations.
“I told them winning the section is nice, but that's not what our goal is,” he said. “They have to have their sights set higher, and to get there we need to keep working and get better.
“Carmichaels is a good team that has only lost three times this season. But we don't want to stop with the section.”
GAME NOTES: Tyler Yuille had seven points and 10 rebounds for Monessen, while Justice Rawlins had seven rebounds and seven assists. Brown had seven steals and Gillaspie, who had a slam dunk during the game, grabbed six rebounds ... The loss snapped a four-game winning streak by Carmichaels ... Monessen closes the section campaign Friday at Clairton with a girls/boys doubleheader. The girls' contest starts at 6 p.m.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.