Bishop Carroll has a solid, balanced and disciplined boys basketball team this winter.
It's the type of squad that figures to make its presence known when the playoffs roll around in late February and March.
The Huskies certainly made a statement in their Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference Section I game with host Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic at the Pleasant Valley gymnasium Monday night.
Getting double-figure efforts from three players, Carroll blew out to a 25-4 second-quarter lead en route to a 47-23 triumph over the Marauders.
With 6-foot-5 junior forward Marcus Lee (11 points, nine rebounds) and 6-2 senior forward Scott Ranck (12 points, four rebounds) controlling the low blocks, and quick, athletic guards Brandon Martinazzi (who scored a game-high 14 points), Mitchell Madonna, and David Maruca providing the motor in the backcourt, Carroll had a surprisingly easy time improving its overall season record to 7-2 and its conference section mark to 2-0.
"We got off to a good start,'' said Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo. "We moved the ball around well, and got some open shots. Defensively, we got them to take shots that they missed, and we got some rebounds. I have no complaints.''
The same could not be said of first-year coach Chris Drenning, who took responsibility for his team's inability to match up with Carroll.
"We got outplayed, and we got outcoached,'' Drenning said. "We fell behind early, they moved the ball around well, and they were much more disciplined on offense than we were. When that happens, you get a result like we got tonight. I have to do a better job of coaching.''
Carroll scored the game's first eight points en route to a 13-3 lead after one quarter. Lee opened the scoring with a lay-in, and Madonna cashed in a feed from Maruca to make it 4-0. Martinazzi came up with a steal and layup for a 6-0 Carroll lead, and Ranck hit a running bank shot to give the Huskies the 8-0 start.
"BG is basically our rival, and we always love to play them,'' Lee said. "We knew coming in that we would have to play as a team. This is their home court, and we couldn't let them get hot. We played really well defensively.''
A 3-pointer by senior Brandon Drenning accounted for BG's only first-quarter points. Martinazzi's two free throws and a 3-point play by Lee - rebound bucket and free throw - helped Carroll close the first quarter strong.
The Huskies kept their foot on the gas pedal in the second and third quarters, too, fashioning a 12-1 run at the outset of the second period for the 25-4 lead. Two buckets apiece by Martinazzi and Ranck led the surge, and Carroll, which led, 25-11 at intermission, carried the third period, 18-4 to put the game away.
"We have a good inside and outside combination with our starting five, and bringing in [sophomore forward] Nik Sukinos as our sixth man gives us three bigs and three quick guards,'' Aliquo said. "As well-coached as [BG] is, we knew we couldn't let up.''
The Marauders (5-2 overall, 1-1 in the conference section) didn't place anybody in double figures. BG got six points apiece from Brandon Drenning and Damon Rickens.
Both Carroll and BG were listed in the Harrisburg Patriot-News Honorable Mention section of the state's top Class A boys basketball teams entering Monday's game. The Huskies lived up to that billing last night.
"Offensively, they ran their system well,'' Drenning said of the Huskies. "We did the exact opposite. We made horrible decisions with the ball, and took contested, low-percentage shots. They played well, and we played right into their hands.''
Game notes: BG turned the ball over 22 times, Carroll seven ... Carroll had a slight 26-22 in team rebounds, led by Lee's nine. Patrick Irwin had six rebounds for BG ... Carroll won the junior varsity game, 47-45, behind Alex Repko's 17 points and David Swatsworth's 10. Nick Fiore had 11 and Brandon Chadbourn 10 for the BG jayvees ... BG hosts Bishop McCort Wednesday night, while Carroll hosts Cambria Heights Thursday.
BISHOP CARROLL (47): Madonna 2 0-0 4, Lee 4 3-3 11, Maruca 1 0-2 2, Martinazzi 6 2-2 14, Ranck 6 0-0 12, Sukinos 2 0-0 4, Lucas 0 0-0 0, Repko 0 0-0 0, Swatsworth 0 0-0 0, Semelsberger 0 0-0 0, Woo 0 0-0 0. Totals - 21 5-7 47.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (23): Irwin 0 0-0 0, Drenning 2 0-0 6, Patterson 1 1-2 3, Koehle 0 0-0 0, Fulare 0 0-0 0, McCloskey 2 0-2 5, Nardelli 0 0-0 0, Wolf 0 0-0 0, Rickens 2 2-2 6, Brumbaugh 0 0-0 0, Chadbourn 0 0-0 0, Baldessaro 0 0-0 0, Fiore 0 0-0 0, Little 0 2-2 2, Kitt 0 0-0 0. Totals - 7 6-10 23.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Carroll13 12 18 4 - 47
Bishop Guilfoyle3 8 4 8 - 23
3-point goals: Bishop Guilfoyle 3 (Drenning 2, McCloskey).
Records: Bishop Carroll (7-2 overall, 2-0 in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference Section I); Bishop Guilfoyle (5-2 overall, 1-1 in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference Section I).
Officials: Clark Adelman, Jack McDougal, Don Ciambotti.