EBENSBURG - Bishop Carroll basketball coach Cosie Aliquo did not want his team to get into a track meet with Johnstown Wednesday night.
It might have only had a little to do with the outside temperature, which was somewhere between 15 degrees and perfect for storing meat.
The Huskies did their best, however, to keep the tempo in check. And they did so long enough to stay within a point of the Trojans with 19.5 seconds to play. The Huskies worked the ball around before Scott Ranck drove the lane and cashed in a turnaround jumper with 5.1 seconds to go. Ranck's basket lifted Bishop Carroll to a 56-55 victory over Johnstown in a Laurel Highlands Conference intersection game.
"To be honest with you, I didn't know what was going on at that moment," Ranck said. "That ball came to me; I had about 10 seconds left and I had to make something happen.The team was counting on me. So I had to come up big somehow. And luckily [the shot] went in."
Aliquo was happy with everyone on the team.
"He hit some big shots. All of our guys stepped up," Aquilo said.
Johnstown coach Neal Cobaugh wanted his athletically gifted team to dictate the pace. The Trojans led much of the first half, despite a pressure defense that led to 22 turnovers.
"Their pressure forced us to do some things that we didn't want to do," Cobaugh said. "Defensively, in the first half if you hold a team like that to 23 points, I thought we did OK."
Aliquo knew his team had to get the pace of the game to their liking.
"You knew Johnstown would want that game in the 70s and 80s," he said. "There's no way we could afford to do that. Not with them."
Ranck's 3-pointer just before the first-half buzzer gave Bishop Carroll (13-2) a 23-22 lead. The lead expanded to 41-35 entering the final period, but Johnstown rallied to assume a 55-52 lead with 43.3 seconds remaining.
Ranck then scored the last two baskets of the night to wipe out the deficit. He totaled 17 points.
Teammate Brandon Martinazzi led all scorers with 18 points. Marcus Lee, who spent much of the game fighting foul trouble, finished the night with 10 points.
"This is a team. It's not one guy; it's not two guys," Aliquo said. "It's all of them. And I tell these guys every night it's not about what we do on offense; it's what we do on defense. You're not going to make every shot. The shots are not going to fall every night. But the defense should be there every night."
The decision extended Bishop Carroll's winning streak to 10 games. Not that Aliquo wants his team to pat each other on the back for that achievement.
"Coach always tells us to keep winning, but it's not the one we want. We're worried about the one at the end; District 6. So, hopefully, we can keep it going," Ranck said. "But until then, none of these matter until the last one."
Phillip Madison and Roshon Fields led Johnstown (10-5) with 16 points apiece. Teammate Dalvin Williams ripped down a game-high eight rebounds. Madison's last-ditch 3-point attempt fell short before the final buzzer.
"We definitely have got to get tougher," Cobaugh said. "The last couple of games we've struggled to rebound the ball defensively."
JOHNSTOWN (55): Madison 5 4-6 16, Damean Barfield 0 0-0 0, Daniel Barfield 2 2-2 7, Fields 8 0-0 16, Williams 2 2-2 6, Updyke 2 3-4 7, Lanzendorfer 1 0-0 3. Totals 20 11-14 55.
BISHOP CARROLL (56): Maruca 2 0-0 4, Lee 5 0-0 10, Ranck 8 0-2 17, Martinazzi 7 2-2 18, Madonna 3 1-1 7, Suckinos 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 3-5 56.
SCORE BY QUARtERS:
Johnstown 13 9 13 20 - 55
Bishop Carroll 12 11 18 15 - 56
3-point field goals: Johnstown 4 (Madison 2, Daniel Barfield, Lanzendorfer), Bishop Carroll 3 (Martinazzi 2, Ranck).
Team records: Johnstown 10-5, Bishop Carroll 13-2.
JV: Bishop Carroll, 52-48.
Officials: Dan Amrhein, Dave Mattis, Brad Eckroth.