Mohawk holds on to top Serra Catholic
Mohawk (49) Vs. Serra Catholic (43)
By Joe Sager
New Castle News

BRIDGEVILLE — Slowly, the lead slipped away.

And, it seemed like the Mohawk High boys basketball team couldn’t stop it.

However, the Warriors regrouped late in the fourth quarter and hung on for a 49-43 win over Serra Catholic in Saturday’s WPIAL Class AA preliminary-round game at Chartiers Valley High School.

Mohawk (10-13) moves on to face Seton-La Salle (20-2) on Wednesday at a time and site to be determined. The Rebels are the No. 1 ranked team in the WPIAL in Class AA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“We have a tough one now. Some people are picking them to knock off Beaver Falls, the top dog, but I said when we got in at 9-13 that we were just happy to be here and we’ll play whoever,” Mohawk coach Rob Fadden said. “Fortunately, we got a win and now we get to go up against one of the best. We’ll see.”

The Warriors started off Saturday’s game according to plan. They posted a 12-9 lead over the Eagles (13-9) after the first.

In the second, Mohawk played one of its better quarters of the season. The Warriors went on a 15-0 run to start the frame. Defensively, they limited Serra Catholic to four points and posted a 27-13 halftime lead.

“We knew that if we came out and played hard, hit shots and played the kind of basketball we can play, we know we can put leads up,” said Mohawk’s Lucas Grim, who scored a game-high 17 points. “We struggled in the third.”

Mohawk’s momentum came to a screeching halt in the third. The Warriors turned the ball over on their first seven possessions. They were fortunate the Eagles continued to struggle and only cut the deficit to 32-20 at the buzzer.

“I don’t know that we were comfortable. I think we maybe played too timid,” Fadden said. “Our decision making in the third quarter was horrendous. We had turnovers and weren’t getting any shots; guys were getting the ball in spots on the court where they haven’t had the ball all year. Why we were giving them the ball there is beyond me. We did what we had to do to earn the win, though.”

Fadden’s troops had trouble adjusting in the third.

“They switched defenses on us and it took a little time to adjust to that. We weren’t making shots like we were in the first half either,” Grim said. “The turnovers killed us there. If they would have made shots, it would have been a different story.”

Serra Catholic’s offense finally came to life in the fourth quarter. After a Vince Menichino putback pushed Mohawk’s lead to 34-20, the Eagles went on a 12-0 run to come within a bucket, 34-32, with 3:36 to play.

“We go through this where we just make dumb decisions in segments of games. It seems like we can’t go four quarters without having a mental lapse,” Fadden said. “You don’t have enough timeouts to call every time you need to make a correction. But, they hung in tough and finished it off, is what mattered.”

The Warriors were able to wrap up the game at the foul line. After missing their first two attempts of the quarter, they made 13 of their next 14 shots to pull out the victory.

“It was frustrating to see the lead disappear, but it was nice to see guys make free throws down the stretch,” Fadden said.

George Porta led the Eagles with 14 points.

Gio Menichino had 11 points off the bench for the Warriors. Vince Menichino, Ryan Sager and Jonathan Grim all had six points. The squad looks forward to its next challenge.

“It feels good to get the playoff win,” Lucas Grim said. “We’ll get in the gym and prepare and go from there.”

Game Scoreboard
Mohawk 12 15 5 17 0 49
Serra Catholic 9 4 7 23 0 43
Box Scores
Lucas Grim 5 6-8 17
Vince Menichino 3 0-0 6
Travis Giardina 0 0-0 0
Gio Menichino 2 5-6 11
John Hartzell 0 0-0 0
Ryan Sager 1 4-4 6
Jonathan Grim 3 0-0 6
Shane McFarland 1 0-0 3.
Totals: 15 15-18 49.

Tyler Grebur 3 4-7 11
Max Kaminsky 2 4-4 9
Anthony Rosso 2 0-0 4
Joe Satira 2 0-0 5
George Prota 6 2-2 14
Jake Bruno 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 15 10-13 43.

MOHAWK 12 15 5 17 — 49
SERRA CATHOLIC 9 4 7 23 — 43
3-point goals — Mohawk 4 (G. Menichino 2, L. Grim 1, McFarland 1); Serra 3 (Grebur 1, Kaminsky 1, Satira 1).
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