JOHNSTOWN - Bishop Carroll's depth and secondary scoring was too much to handle for Blacklick Valley on Monday night at Richland High School.
The Huskies withstood two late charges from the Vikings to earn a 71-60 win in the first round of the District 6 Class A boys playoffs.
Bishop Carroll senior guard Ryan Lauer scored 21 points and led by example for his young Huskies teammates.
"Offensively, Ryan got off to a good start," Bishop Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo said. "I saw him shooting in warm-ups and I thought, 'he was hitting them.' Then he came out in the beginning of the game and he was hitting them and I said, 'I'm turning him loose.'"
Bishop Carroll played seven players - each scoring at least six points - compared to eight for Blacklick Valley, which got 27 points from the game's top scorer, 6-foot-1 junior Dalton Cesarz.
"I knew they weren't going to go away," Aliquo said. "Dalton's a scorer, so I knew they weren't going to go away. He moves well without the ball and we didn't stop him from cutting."
Bishop Carroll (12-11) twice held a 15-point lead, but Blacklick (9-14) also narrowed the gap to seven two times, but that's as close as they got all night.
Bishop Carroll junior forward Scott Ranck scored 12 points, sophomore center Marcus Lee and freshman guard Brandon Martinazzi each scored nine points, sophomore guard Mitchell Madonna added eight and sophomore David Maruca and freshmen reserve Nik Suckinos each chipped in six points in the balanced victory.
"Lauer's tough, we knew he was going to be a threat deep," Blacklick Valley coach Garry Wurm said. "We knew he can shoot long and he's dangerous and his dribble penetration is tough too. He does a good job distributing the ball once he gets through the key.
"We knew those guys coming off the bench - Martinazzi and Suckinos - could give us some trouble. Martinazzi's a really good shooter."
The opposing coach wasn't the only one praising BC's depth.
"It started from day one, whenever I first met these kids coming into summer camp," Lauer said. "They're going to have their struggles, but you've just got to stick with them and keep their heads up, because they're all great athletes. They're all great ball players."
The first half was an up-and-down sprint, with both teams running the floor and ringing up the scoreboard. Carroll led after the first frame, 21-16. Early in the high-paced contest, both teams were pressing defensively, but doing little behind the press to defend the basket. Bishop Carroll led 37-29 at the break.
"Our plan was to keep the tempo down," Wurm said. "We didn't want to get in a run-and-gun type game with them. That made me nervous, they have great speed, great team speed."
Blacklick Valley junior Johnny Sheesley scored 16 points for the Vikings, and Cesarz pulled down 10 rebounds in an inspired effort.
"Dalton's been playing that way all season," Wurm said. "He's a solid basketball player. There's no one guy. Dalton just happens to be our big scorer. They all have their role on the team."
BC will play No. 2 seed Conemaugh Valley later this week.
BLACKLICK VALLEY (60): Cesarz 10 4-5 27, Sheesley 6 2-4 16, Barzdo 1 4-10 6, Paul 3 0-0 7, Worthington 0 0-0 0, Gaydos 2 0-0 4, O'Connell 0 0-0 0, Palko 0 0-0 0. Totals - 22 10-19 60.
BISHOP CARROLL (71): Lauer 7 5-6 21, Lee 4 1-1 9, Ranck 6 0-0 12, Martinazzi 4 0-0 9, Madonna 4 0-2 8, Maruca 2 2-2 6, Suckinos 3 0-0 6. Totals - 30 8-13 71.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Blacklick Valley16 13 12 19 - 60
Bishop Carroll21 16 16 18 - 71
3-point goals: Blacklick Valley 6 (Cesarz 3, Sheesley 2, Paul); Bishop Carroll 3 (Lauer 2, Martinazzi).
Officials: Bill Antesberger, George Figura, Brad Eckenroth.
Records: Blacklick Valley (9-14); Bishop Carroll (12-11).