Hopewell stuns Aliquippa
Hopewell coaches have been trying to convince Greg Rosatelli that he needs to play as inspired in the first half as he does in the final 16 minutes. Against Aliquippa, the Vikings guard showed why he just might be the best second-half player in the WPIAL.
Rosatelli made the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 33.7 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime, then scored 13 points in the extra period, as Hopewell stunned visiting Aliquippa, 79-71, in overtime Tuesday in a non-section game between neighboring rivals.
The 5-foot-9 senior scored 31 of his game-high 35 points in the second half, including 26 in the final two periods. He scored 10 unanswered points to turn a 65-64 Aliquippa lead into a 74-65 Hopewell advantage.
“Against Aliquippa, you need players to step up,” Hopewell coach Joe Falletta said. “In critical situations, Greg took over. It was one of the most amazing performances I've seen.”
After scoring only four first-half points, Rosatelli was 11 of 12 from the field and 7 of 9 from the free-throw line in the second half. He was untouchable in overtime, scoring all but two of Hopewell's 15 points.
“Aliquippa is very athletic and plays such great help defense,” Falletta said. “We tried to get Greg in the gaps of their defense. When the lane opened, he drove right in.”
Rosatelli credited forwards Craig Bokor (15 points) and Mike Hudak for setting screens that allowed him to drive the lane uncontested. Rosatelli beat either Darelle Revis or John Harvey off the dribble, then scored on layups.
“My teammates told me, ‘Do whatever you want. Take over if you have to,'” Rosatelli said. “Bokor and Hudak just picked their men, and I had an open lane.”
The Vikings needed Rosatelli's performance to overcome that of Aliquippa's Revis, a junior guard who scored 17 of his team-high 26 points in the first half. Revis fouled out while guarding Rosatelli with 33.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the Quips leading, 64-63.
“We tried to keep him out of trouble early so he could guard their best man late,” Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac said. “You've got to learn how to play with fouls.”
Added Falletta, “His getting in foul trouble was beneficial to us.”
Hopewell (10-5) shot 60 percent (30 of 50) and snapped a four-game losing streak to Aliquippa (14-3), which made only 29 of 76 shots from the field. Aliquippa beat Hopewell, 72-67, on Dec. 30 in the C.J. Betters holiday tournament championship game.
The Quips' other losses came against Class AAAA Chartiers Valley and AAA Blackhawk. They are undefeated against Class AA opponents.
What did they get out of the non-section loss•
“Absolutely, positively nothing, other than playing a real good team,” Zmijanac said. “If we become WPIAL and state champions, nobody will remember if Hopewell beat us except for Hopewell. If it mattered, I wouldn't play Chartiers Valley, Blackhawk and Hopewell.
“I'd play Podunk.”
Hopewell treated the win as a potential turning point in a season that started slow because of its football team's WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA championship run. Beating Aliquippa is always huge for the Vikings.
“It's just a rivalry game we like to win,” Rosatelli said. “This is a big win for us.”