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Monessen victimized by Bishop Carroll's 22-0 run in 2nd half

| Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 10:21 p.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Monessen's Javon Brown reaches for a loose ball against Bishop Carroll's Brandon Martinazzi during a PIAA Class A second-round playoff game Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at Gateway High School.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Monessen's Justice Rawlins attempts to score against Bishop Carroll's Marcus Lee during a PIAA Class A second-round playoff game Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at Gateway High School.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Monessen's Justice Rawlins attempts to block a shot by Bishop Carroll's Chris Duan during a PIAA Class A second-round playoff game Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at Gateway High School.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Monessen's Javon Brown drives the ball past Bishop Carroll's Brandon Martinazzi during a PIAA Class A second-round playoff game Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at Gateway High School.

Once the run started, Monessen just couldn't make it stop.

Bishop Carroll scored 22 consecutive second-half points to claim the lead in Tuesday night's 69-65 second-round victory over the Greyhounds in the PIAA Class A playoffs at Gateway.

Monessen could only watch.

“I tried to call timeout to stop it,” Monessen coach Joe Salvino said, “but it kept going.”

Monessen led 53-43 with two minutes left in the third. But the WPIAL runner-up suddenly couldn't make a basket. With 3:30 left in the fourth, Carroll led 65-53 before the Greyhounds could score another point.

“They got the momentum,” Monessen's Javon Brown said. “They saw what they could do and they took over. We started making mistakes and they were able to turn the mistakes into points.”

The 22-0 run lasted more than seven minutes.

“Sometimes that happens when you're just mentally tired,” Monessen coach Joe Salvino said. “You start making mistakes. They got the momentum in the third quarter and we couldn't get it back.”

When you play fast, slowing down isn't always easy — even with a 10-point lead. Quick shots, missed 3-pointers and turnovers ate away at Monessen's double-digit lead. “We forced some shots that we shouldn't have with the lead that we had,” Salvino said. “I told them at halftime, don't settle for 3-point shots and don't shoot the ball right away, simply because we don't need to.”

Junior guard Brandon Martinazzi had 28 points for Bishop Carroll (27-0), and junior Nik Suckinos added 14. This was the most serious challenge this season for the District 6 champion.

“We didn't have too many games like that; we usually had a fair lead,” said Suckinos, who made three of his four 3-pointers in the second half to spark his team's run.

Brown led Monessen with 17 points. Justice Rawlins added 12.

“I'm proud of where we ended up,” Salvino said. “No one expected us to be in the WPIAL championship game. I don't think anyone thought we'd be where we are today. You have to be proud of a bunch of football players who learned to play basketball.”

There were five lead changes and three ties in the first quarter. Tied at 13-13, a layup by Brown helped Monessen grab a lead it then held until the third. Monessen led 20-16 after the first quarter. The lead reached nine points on a 3-pointer by Noah Rullo 36 seconds into the second.

Brown had 14 first-half points and Monessen led 43-37 at halftime.

Monessen led 53-50 after three quarters, when Bishop Carroll finished the third with a 7-0 run. But the lead was dwindling. With six minutes left in the fourth, a driving layup by Martinazzi gave Bishop Carroll its first lead after halftime.

“We were the better team for two quarters,” Salvino said, “but you've got to play 32 minutes of basketball.”

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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