HOLLIDAYSBURG - It took the Bishop Carroll Catholic Huskies awhile to get rolling Tuesday night, but once they did, it took very little time to get by Juniata Valley and move on to the District 6 Class A championship game for the sixth time in seven years.
Leading just 14-11 with 2:49 left in the second quarter, the top-seeded and undefeated Huskies went on a 16-1 run the rest of the half to go up 30-12 at the break on their way to a 64-31 victory in the semifinal matchup.
"We slowed ourselves down. We couldn't get anything going on offense," Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo said. "Once we got going, we were able to set our traps on the other end, and we were fine."
Scott Lucas takes a jump shot for Bishop Carroll during Tuesday night’s win over Juniata Valley. Lucas finished with four points for the Huskies.
Carroll's Brandon Martinazzi scored zero points through the first 13-plus minutes of play. The high-scoring guard had 12 of Bishop Carroll's 16 points during the decisive run late in the first half.
After converting four straight free throws on back-to-back possessions, Martinazzi took a defensive rebound coast-to-coast and scored on an acrobatic lay in. He then heated up from the outside, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers and three more treys in the third quarter.
When Martinazzi sank an off-balance jump shot from just inside the free throw line for his final bucket, Carroll was up 30, 48-18.
The win sets up a rematch with Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic in the district finals Friday 8:30 p.m. at St. Francis University. BG knocked off Homer-Center 58-53 on the other side of the bracket to advance.
"That's what we go for every year. It's a joy to get their. We'll see where it goes," Aliquo said.
Guilfoyle won last year's game on 3-pointer by C.J. Fulare with two seconds left in the game. Bishop Carroll beat BG twice in the regular season by a combined 11 points.
Juniata Valley plays Homer-Center in the consolation game Thursday at time and venue to be announced. The winner advances to state playoffs.
Juniata Valley led 7-5 after one quarter against Carroll. Kordell Collins scored all seven points, driving to the rim.
The Hornets spread the floor, ran a methodical, patient offense against Carroll's man defense and took advantage of Collins' quickness to take the early advantage.
On defense, Valley played an active zone, keeping the ball from going inside Marcus Lee. The 6-foot-6 forward still managed a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"The first quarter we did a great job, but they're so good. You can only hold them back for so long," JV coach Ron Anders said. "We executed the game plan, but talent-wise, we were a little over overmatched. They're undefeated for a reason. They've dominated everyone except Guilfoyle from Quad-A to Class A. We held our own for a while."
Nik Suckinos came off the bench and knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second quarter for six of his nine points to kickstart the Huskies offense and give Carroll the chance to set up its full-court press.
"Nick coming off the bench and hitting some shots was big for us. When we score, we can press," Aliquo said. "We went from 7-5 at the end of the first quarter to up 18 at halftime. That's what our press is capable of doing."
Once Carroll was able to press Juniata Valley, the Hornets struggled, scoring just five and six points in the second and third quarters, respectively.
"They wear on you. It's a close game, and all of the sudden, you're down 15. That's what they do. That's the style I want to play," Anders said. "We're in a good place with out program. We're playing the same style at the junior high level and hopefully, it will filter up through. The future is bright. We're headed in the right direction."
Collins finished with a team-high 13 points and five rebounds. Gordon Gable added nine points and four rebounds.
JUNIATA VALLEY (31): Maysonet 0 1-2 1, Gable 3 0-1 9, Taylor 1 2-2 4, Collins 4 5-6 13, Shawver 1 0-0 2, Gildea 0 0-0 0, Barton 0 0-0 0, Grissinger 1 0-0 2, Grove 0 0-0 0, Pilch 0 0-0 0, Claar 0 0-0 0. Totals - 10 8-11 31.
BISHOP CARROLL (64): Maruca 3 1-1 7, Lucas 2 0-0 4, Lee 4 2-8 10, Martinazzi 7 4-4 23, Madonna 0 3-4 3, Swatsworth 0 0-0 0, Suckinos 3 1-2 9, Burk 1 0-1 2, Woo 0 2-2 2, Watt 0 0-0 0, Ratchford 2 0-0 4, Dunchack 0 0-0 0, Weinzierl 0 0-0 0, Wyland 0 0-0 0. Totals - 22 13-22 64.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Juniata Valley7 5 6 13 - 31
Bishop Carroll5 25 22 12 - 64
3-point goals: Juniata Valley 3 (Gable 3); Bishop Carroll 7 (Martinazzi 5, Suckinos 2).
Records: Juniata Valley (19-6); Bishop Carroll (24-0).