Greensburg CC knocks off reigning state champ Beaver Falls
Greensburg Central Catholic isn't a team that relies on the 3-pointer. But in Saturday's PIAA Class AA quarterfinal against Beaver Falls at Chartiers Valley, the Centurions needed the 3-pointer to advance to Tuesday's semifinals.
The Centurions rallied from a 10-point second-quarter deficit, hit five 3-pointers in a crucial third quarter and defeated Beaver Falls, the reigning state champion, 60-49.
The victory puts Greensburg Central Catholic (25-3) in a rematch with WPIAL champion Seton-La Salle.
The Rebels, who edged GCC in the WPIAL finals 52-51, defeated Aliquippa, 70-44.
Beaver Falls (20-7) used the hot shooting of senior Dan Stratton (seven points) and Javon Turner (six) to grab a 20-14 lead in the first quarter. The Tigers made 9 of 14 shots from the field in the quarter.
The lead stretched to 30-20 with three minutes left in the first half, but a put-back by Collin Bisignani capped a 6-0 GCC run that cut the Tigers' lead to 30-26 at halftime.
“I thought our experience was a big difference in the game,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Greg Bisignani said. “When you have experience on the floor, they don't panic.
“We shared the ball more, and Brian (Graytok) did a great job getting other players involved. We were able to knock down some shots and hit some big 3-pointers.”
Graytok, the team's leading scorer at 17.1 points per game, was held to eight points, but senior guards Billy Hipp and Christian Hyland picked up the slack.
Hipp scored 16 points and Hyland 15. Each hit two 3-pointers in the third quarter when GCC outscored Beaver Falls, 22-9, to grab a 48-39 lead.
“They're a veteran bunch, and they make you pay for mistakes defensively,” Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega said.
“Part of our problem in the third quarter was Turner being on the bench with a couple questionable fouls.
“The fouls on Turner hurt us in the second quarter because he gets into the paint and creates for us.”
Stratton led Beaver Falls with 15 points, but only two came in the second half. Turner finished with 10.
“I thought Danny got tired a little bit,” Biega said. “He carried us as far as he could.”
Greensburg Central Catholic protected its lead in the fourth quarter, running time off the clock and making free throws.
Hyland said it was a team effort with Graytok struggling to score.
“Brian has been our guy all year, and I knew I had to step up,” Hyland said. “I think the difference was we took care of the ball, rebounded and played smart.”
GCC's Romano Sebastiani had eight points, eight rebounds and three steals.
“We got the momentum going into the locker room late in the first half,” Bisignani said. “We just kept playing hard, and we kept playing good team defense.”