Monessen dumps Eden Christian; Wilkinsburg up next
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Monessen coach Joe Salvino has often said that the first playoff game is the toughest one to win.
But after a slow start in a WPIAL Class A first round playoff game Friday night against Eden Christian at Chartiers Valley, the Greyhounds lived up to their name and ran past the upstart Warriors, cruising to a 78-54 win.
“We didn't get to practice (Thursday) because there was no school so we were a bit sluggish,” Salvino said. “But once we got things going, I thought we played pretty well. We picked up our defense, especially in the second half and forced a lot of turnovers that we turned into quick points. When we play defense, we can be pretty good.”
Known for making big scoring runs in games, the Greyhounds (18-5) made several against Eden Christian (9-13), in its fourth year as a WPIAL member.
A 13-0 run in the second quarter turned a 23-20 lead into a 36-20 bulge that only grew as the night went on.
There was a 20-10 spree in the third quarter and a 16-5 spurt in the fourth quarter.
In the third quarter, Javon Brown took over the game almost single-handedly with 11 points and creating several turnovers as Monessen widened its lead to 60-40 going into the fourth quarter.
“Javon signed with (Lackawanna) for football, but he might want to re-think that,” Salvino said with a smile. “The kid can play basketball on the small college level. He is light years different from the kind of player he was a year ago. He runs our offense, spearheads our defense and when he drives to the basket, he creates a lot of opportunities for himself and other teammates. He means a lot to us in so many ways.”
Brown made 8 of 11 shots from the field and was a perfect 5 for 5 from the foul line as he finished with 20 points.
Teammate Clintell Gillaspie, who scored 10 points in the first quarter to give the Greyhounds an early spark, led Monessen with 22 points and he also grabbed nine rebounds. Gillaspie made 8 of 13 shots from the field.
Justice Rawlins had another solid game doing a lot of the dirty work for the Greyhounds as he finished with a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. He also had six steals.
“Justice always works hard,” Salvino said. “He epitomizes the work ethic of this team. Really, I thought everyone played well. Clintell hit a couple big threes early, as did Noah Rullo. Lavelle Rush had some big plays and Kayne Jackson played well, too.
“It was a team effort.”
Salvino also was happy with how the smaller Greyhounds battled the bigger Warriors on the boards.
“I the first half, we outrebounded them 24-14,” he said. “Again, our kids battled for the ball. We just have to keep doing those kind of things if we are going to keep playing games.”
Monessen had the lead as high as 31 points when Jaden Altomore drilled a three-pointer with 2:53 to play in the game.
“This was a good win, a good way to start,” Salvino said. “But it's just one game. We have to get right back to work in the gym and get ready to play Wilkinsburg.”
The Greyhounds will meet Wilkinsburg in the quarterfinals Friday at a site to be determined. Wilkinsburg (13-7) eliminated Union, 74-62, in a first-round game.
The Greyhounds played Wilkinsburg earlier this season, handing the Tigers a 73-51 defeat Dec. 21.
“That was a long time ago and, obviously, they are doing better now because they are still playing,” Salvino said. “At least we do know a little about them, which is a good thing.”
PLAYOFF TIDBITS: After making just 5 of 14 free throws in the first half, the Greyhounds made 11 of 13 in the second half ... Eden Christian was led by Carter Ehms with 21 points, including eight of 10 at the foul line ... As a team, the Warriors made 15 of 22 free throws ... The Greyhounds were hit with a technical in the fourth quarter because Brandon Lenhart was not in the official scorebook when Salvino emptied his bench.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bordonaro boosts East girls to 79-72 victory in Cager Classic
- Teams set mark for 3-pointers as East boys nip West, 110-109, in Cager Classic
- PIAA committee wants to revive western final
- Kittanning senior Kunst shoots lights out at Cager Classic skills event
- Tough seasons to end on high note for girls at Cager Classic
- Division I-bound duo to lead East girls team at Cager Classic