HOLLIDAYSBURG - Playing in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference as a Class A school, the Bishop Carroll boys' basketball team is what coach Cosie Aliquo considers "battle-tested."
That mentality seemed to help on Monday as the top-seeded Huskies won in a rout of fifth-seeded Juniata Valley, 62-21, in the District 6 semifinals at the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School gymnasium.
"[Experience] plays a deep part," Aliquo said, "The kids have been through the battles in our conference and those [games] have helped them."
The Bishop Carroll (21-4) advantage came early as the team scored 10 of the game's first 12 points, eight of which came from junior forward Marcus Lee.
"We wanted to get Marcus going at the beginning," Aliquo said.
"[Juniata Valley's Jason Shawver] does a nice job inside," Juniata Valley coach Ron Anders said. "Lee is just too athletic and was getting to his spots."
Shawver led Juniata Valley (15-9) with 13 points, while no other Hornet had more than three.
Lee cooled down in the second, but unfortunately for the Hornets it was Huskies' senior Scott Ranck that picked up where Lee left off.
Ranck scored 20 of his 26 points in the second and third quarters combined, including two 3-pointers, as he scored from all areas of the court.
"[Lee and Ranck] have been great all year," Aliquo said. "When they start keying on Marcus inside we always have Scott."
Ranck's 26 points led all scorers, while Lee added 17 and Brandon Martinazzi chipped in 13.
Valley's offense was stagnant for most of the night, as it made only five field goals in the game, including just one in the first half on a jump shot from Brett Grissinger with 4:53 remaining in the first quarter.
The Huskies scored the first 10 points of the second quarter, six by Martinazzi and six from Ranck, to give themselves a comfortable lead, 25-3.
Carroll's length and athleticism on the defensive side proved to be just as effective as its offense, limiting top Hornets' scorers Caleb Taylor and Grissinger to just five points between them.
"[Taylor]'s a heck of a player," Aliquo said. "We didn't want to let him get hot."
Leading at the half, 31-8, Carroll put Anders and his team in a tough spot as the Hornets never threatened.
"They run their system well," Anders said. "We were outmatched. Our kids played alright, but not nearly to the caliber of [Bishop Carroll]."
"All year [Aliquo] has been preaching defense," Ranck said. "Hopefully we can take that into Friday."
The Huskies will move on to face Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic in the District 6-A championship game at 7:30 on Friday at St. Francis University.
"I think it's any coaches goal to get their team [to the district championship]," Aliquo said. "I'm proud of them."
Juniata Valley will face Homer-Center in the consolation game Thursday at a time and place to be determined. The winner will head to states.
JUNIATA VALLEY (21): Taylor 1 0-0 2, B. Grissinger 1 1-2 3, Colins 0 1-2 1, Shawver 3 6-9 13, Maysonet 0 2-2 2, Gable 0 0-0 0, Norris 0 0-0 0, Grove 0 0-0 0, T. Grissinger 0 0-0 0, Gildea 0 0-0 0. Totals- 5 10-15 21.
BISHOP CARROLL (62): Martinazzi 4 4-5 13, Ranck 11 2-6 26, Lee 6 5-6 17, Maruca 1 0-0 2, Lucas 1 0-0 2, Burk 0 2-2 2, Suckinos 0 0-0 0, Madonna 0 0-0 0, Semelsberger 0 0-0 0, Woo 0 0-0 0. Totals- 25 13-19 62.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Juniata Valley 3 5 7 6 - 21
Bishop Carroll 15 16 15 16 - 62
3-point goals: Juniata Valley 1 (Shawver); Bishop Carroll 3 (Ranck 2, Martinazzi).
Records: Juniata Valley 15-9; Bishop Carroll (21-4).