Monessen’s second half start dooms Mohawk
Monessen (65) Vs. Mohawk (56)

BRIDGEVILLE — The Monessen High boys basketball team prides itself on defense.

The Greyhounds had plenty to be proud of last night.

After going into the half tied with Mohawk during a WPIAL Class AA first-round playoff game at Chartiers Valley, the Greyhounds made a stand.

They used an early third-quarter run and took advantage of 22 turnovers to knock off the Warriors, 65-56.

“You know what they’re going to do,” Mohawk coach Kevin Wrona said. “But to simulate that in practice and actually get a feel for that is hard.”

Mohawk (16-6) took a 15-13 lead in the first quarter when junior guard Jake Grim put in a layup at the buzzer. Each team had a four-point edge during the second quarter before senior forward Matt Lorello banked in a bunny inside the paint with three seconds remaining to tie it up 31 at the half.

Grim and Lorello scored all but two points for the Warriors during the first half. Lorello, who scored a game-high 27, had 16 at the break. Grim scored 13 of his 21 in the first half.

“(Lorello and Grim) were killing us,” Monessen coach Joe Salvino said. “I told the kids we had to trap and try to force mistakes.”

The Greyhounds (14-8) got it going in the second half. During the first 51 seconds of the third quarter, they went on a 9-0 run with sophomore guard Nick Bolias scoring all nine points.

“The start of the third quarter was key,” Wrona said. “To be all square at halftime and feeling good and then see them go on that run was tough.

“That made it more difficult the rest of the way.”

The Warriors committed three of their eight third-quarter turnovers during that Monessen run.

“When a game’s tied and you come out and jump out to a 9-point lead, that forces the other team to do things that they might not be used to doing or they try to hurry things,” Salvino said.

Bolias scored a team-high 24 points and cashed in 10 of 11 from the foul line.

“Nick came up big today,” Salvino said. “It’s been like that ... it was Telly Clark the other day and someone else the game before that.

After Monessen closed the quarter with a 53-43 lead, Mohawk tried to chip away in the final stanza. The Warriors got as close as 57-53 with 2:27 remaining.

“We knew that Monessen was going to play in spurts,” Wrona said. “Once we got into that bad start in the third quarter we told the kids to keep playing, keep hanging around because they’ll make mistakes that will open the door for you.

“They opened it, but unfortunately we just couldn’t capitalize.”

The foul line was a factor in the second half. Mohawk, which converted 12 of 21 in the game, made just 7 of 17 in the second half. The Warriors missed five from the strip in the fourth quarter alone.

“If you want to win playoff games, you have to knock down free throws,” Wrona said.

The Greyhounds advance to the quarterfinals and will play Saturday against second-seeded Beaver Falls. The Tigers (19-4) beat Seton-La Salle last night, 65-59.

“At this particular time, it’s not who you play, it’s just if you’re playing,” Salvino said.

The win over Mohawk also clinched a berth into the state playoffs for Monessen.
Game Scoreboard
Monessen 13 18 22 12 0 65
Mohawk 15 16 12 13 0 56
Box Scores
Telly Clark 4 0-1 8
Terrance Stepoli 1 0-0 2
Kevin Parker 0 0-0 0
Nick Bolias 7 10-11 24
Matt Wall 2 0-2 4
ShelDon Miller 1 2-2 5
Cam Johnson 5 1-6 11
Trae Cook 1 1-3 3
Jeff Francia 2 3-4 8.
Totals: 23 17-29 65.

Jake Grim 8 5-7 21
Matt Minteer 0 0-0 0
Michael Henry 2 2-4 6
Dan Mioni 2 2-4 6
Matt Lorello 11 5-10 27
Jordan Sager 0 0-0 0
Colin Bredl 1 0-0 2
Zach Beatty 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 22 12-21 56.

MONESSEN 13 18 22 12 — 65
MOHAWK 15 16 12 13 — 56

3-point goals — Monessen 2 (S. Miller 1, Cook 1).
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