Fired-up coach keys Carroll comeback

MONROEVILLE – Bishop Carroll Catholic coach Cosie Aliquo’s began to boil over with frustration when he noticed his Huskies had four fouls to Monessen’s none with BC down in the third quarter.

Aliquo finally exploded a few seconds later when Scott Lucas drove to the basket and drew heavy contact without a foul. The officials slapped the Carroll coach with a technical foul, and Monessen went ahead by eight.

Then Bishop Carroll exploded on the Greyhounds.

The Huskies used a 22-0 run that began with a Nik Suckinos 3-pointer with 50 seconds to play in the third quarter and ended with a Brandon Martinazzi layup with 4 minutes to play in the fourth to make a comeback, then pull away from Monessen in a 69-65 victory in a PIAA Class A second round game at Gateway’s Henry J. Furrie Sports Complex Tuesday night.

Bishop Carroll improved to 27-0 and will play Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, which topped Ridgway, 58-43, on Friday at a time and place to be determined. North Catholic is the third seed from District 7; Monessen was the runner-up.

“Coach’s technical helped us out; it got us going,” Suckinos said. “It was just what we needed. It turned the game around.”

Suckinos, who scored 14 points including all four of the Huskies’ 3-pointers off the bench, was certainly a key as well.

“He’s always hitting those 3s in practice,” Bishop Carroll’s Marcus Lee said. “They just don’t fall sometimes in games. He’s proven to be a really good player in practice and there was no better time for him to do it in a game than tonight.”

Bishop Carroll trailed by four after the first quarter, by six at halftime and by as many as 10 before the 22-0 run.

“Nik came in and hit two or three big 3s in a row to get us back into the game,” Aliquo said. “They started missing shots, and we started making shots. My guys don’t give up, they just don’t give up.”

Martinazzi led all scorers with 28 points, but Monessen played the junior guard tight beyond the arc and limited him to no 3-pointers and just two attempts. Martinazzi also was just 2-of-5 from the foul line, just his fifth, sixth and seventh misses from the line this season.

Meanwhile, the Greyhounds were shooting lights out from beyond the arc. Monessen connected on six 3-pointers in the first half but made just one in the final 16 minutes.

“I expected them to be good, but not that good [from 3-point range],” Aliquo said. “In the second half when they started missing, it really worked to our advantage.”

Justice Rice, who made three of Monessen’s 3-pointers, made both free throws after Aliquo’s technical and made a layup to put the Greyhounds up 53-43 with 9:11 to play in the game, but it was all Bishop Carroll for the next 5 minutes.

“We weren’t getting anything, and then [after the technical] there’s the run,” Aliquo said. “They know that I will protect them anyway I can, and we get hammered and there’s no call. It changed the game and started that long run.”

Once Bishop Carroll took the lead and began to build it, Monessen panicked.

“The end of the third quarter killed us,” Monessen coach Joe Salvino said. “We stopped pushing the ball and started shooting 3s on every possession. Sometimes it’s a team’s time of the year, and this was our time to go.”

Suckinos put Bishop Carroll ahead, 69-59, with 1:49 to play, but the Huskies didn’t score again.

Javon Brown, who led the Greyhounds with 19 points, made two free throws and a layup sandwiched around Lavell Rush’s jumper to pull Monessen within four with 43 seconds to play.

David Maruca missed the front end of one-and-one free throw opportunities on two consecutive possessions for the Huskies, and Bishop Carroll finished just 3-of-11 from the line.

But Monessen couldn’t capitalize.

Justice Rawlins shot an air ball on a 3-pointer in the final seconds, and Carroll inbounded the ball as time ran out.

“When you get this far, any team is going to be tough,” Aliquo said. “We’re going to have our hands full going forward.”

Lee finished with 14 rebounds but just nine points in a game where Martinazzi and Suckinos were the only players to score in double-digits.

“I was just trying to be a spark off the bench,” Suckinos said. “It was a big game, and it was at a high level. I just tried to keep the flow going and hit my shots.

“We put a lot of hard work into this year, and we wanted to keep it going. We want to go as far as possible.”

MONESSEN (65): Brown 8 3-4 19, Rullo 2 0-0 6, Gillaspie 3 0-1 6, Rawlins 5 1-3 12, Rush 4 0-2 9, Altomore 0 0-0 0, Rice 4 2-2 13. Totals – 26 4-10 65.

BISHOP CARROLL (69): Maruca 2 0-2 4, Martinazzi 13 2-5 28, Lee 4 1-3 9, Lucas 3 0-0 6, Madonna 1 0-0 2, Suckinos 5 0-0 14, Burk 3 0-1 6. Totals – 31 3-11 69.


Monessen 20 23 10 12 – 65

Bishop Carroll 16 21 13 19 – 69

3-pointers: Monessen 7 (Rice 3, Rullo 2, Rush, Rawlins); Bishop Carroll 4 (Suckinos 4)

Records: Bishop Carroll (27-0); Monessen (21-7)