BC rides defense to victory

Huskies force 24 turnovers

PUNXSUTAWNEY — It’s no secret across the state that Bishop Carroll Catholic is known for its pressure defense.

That doesn’t necessarily mean teams can really be prepared for it.

The Huskies forced 24 turnovers, including one that led to Elk County Catholic star Ryan Newton picking up his fifth foul, as Carroll topped the Crusaders, 57-47, in the second round of the PIAA Class 1A playoffs at Chuck Daly Memorial Gymnasium Tuesday.

“We knew they were going to double us and there was going to be a lot of pressure,” Newton said. “We just didn’t handle it well.”

Bishop Carroll turned ECC over 16 times in the first half but couldn’t pull away and played to a 22-all tie after 16 minutes.

“We missed a bunch of layups and couldn’t capitalize off steals,” Bishop Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo said “That’s some of them too. They got back.”

Newton, who came into the game averaging 17.6 points per game, had a lot to do with the Crusaders staying close. He finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds but picked up his fourth and fifth foul in the span of 40 seconds and left the game with 3:20 to play. Elk County Catholic managed just five points the rest of the way.

“We knew if we could get that kid to foul out, we’d be OK,” said Bishop Carroll’s Tristan McDannell, who led all scorers with 22 points off the bench. “It was huge. He’s a big kid, their rim protector and to get him out of the game was a game-changer.”

The Huskies took control of the game when Hamid Rodkey expanded a one-point lead to four on a three-point play with under four minutes to go in the game.

“He’s been quiet all year,” Aliquo said. “I said to him the other day, ‘why don’t you start playing in games like you do in practice?’ and then he came through with a huge three-point play.”

McDannell made one of two free throws with 2:18 to play before ECC’s Alex Briendel missed two free throws on the other end.

Bishop Carroll senior Ben Ratchford followed up with a 3-pointer that made it 52-45 with 1:22 left.

“That’s like the third game (Eckenrode) has been there for us at the end,” Aliquo said. “He made that 3 that put it from four to seven. He did the same thing to Blacklick.”

McDannell made all four of his free throws in the final 33 seconds to set the final score.

“We turned it on and kept it on the whole game,” McDannell said. “It’s a good feeling to have our small school doing so well in such a big tournament.”

Carson Ertter added 16 points for the Huskies.

“Carson and Tristan have done it all year,” Aliquo said. “The best thing is, one is only a junior and that other is a sophomore.”

Carroll’s defensive pressure finally led to some easy baskets during a 9-2 run that closed the third quarter and gave the Huskies a 34-32 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.

“They really turned us over a lot in the backcourt and got some easy buckets,” Newton said. “It’s real tough having to sit on the bench, because you work so hard to be out there with your team.”

The victory put Bishop Carroll into the quarterfinals for the third time in the past six years.

The Huskies will play District 5 champion Shade, which knocked off WPIAL champion Vincentian, 60-56, in the 1A quarterfinals on Friday.

“For this group, this is special,” Aliquo said. “This is the third time we’ve been there. I’m demanding, and these guys are starting to figure that out. To get here, it’s not easy. You play every great team. They really busted their butts.”

BISHOP CARROLL (57): Ertter 5 4-6 16, Karlheim 1 0-0 2, Rodkey 1 1-1 3, Ratchford 1 0-0 2, Eckenrode 2 0-0 5, McDannell 6 7-8 22, Burk 1 2-2 4, Semelsberger 1 0-0 3. Totals — 18 14-17 57.

ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC (47): Hoffman 0 0-0 0, Wehler 0 0-0 0, Schneider 1 1-1 3, Briendel 4 0-2 8, Newton 7 2-2 17, Wortman 2 0-0 4, Klawuhn 2 0-0 4, Lindermuth 0 1-2 1, Gregory 4 0-0 8, O’Leary 0 0-0 0, Mader 0 0-0 0, Aiello 0 0-0 0. Totals — 21 4-7 47.


Bishop Carroll 7 15 12 23 — 57

Elk County Catholic 10 12 10 15 — 47

3-point goals: Bishop Carroll 7 (McDannell 3, Ertter 2, Eckenrode, Semelsberger); Elk County Catholic 1 (Newton).

Records: Bishop Carroll (19-8); Elk County Catholic (22-7).

Officials: Patrick Lion, Michael A. Jarosinski, Michael D. Jarosinski.