T-D HS Basketball

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Bishop Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo (left) talks with official Sam Zambanini during the Huskies’ PIAA Class A quarterfinal against Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic at Gateway High School. Bishop Carroll faces Lincoln Park Charter in tonight’s semifinal at Hempfield Area High School.
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Bishop Carroll’s David Maruca (right) is guarded by Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic’s John Savulchuk during Friday’s PIAA Class A quarterfinal.

Bishop Carroll gets crack at Lincoln Park

By: Cory Isenberg

Bishop Carroll’s Scott Ranck made a bold prediction after his Huskies squad fell to Lincoln Park Performing Arts in last year’s PIAA Class A quarterfinal-round game.
“I’ll miss these guys and they definitely have their work cut out for them next year,” the lone Huskies’ senior from last year said. “They only lose one senior starter and I think they can go further next year and expect them to do that.”
As it turns out, Ranck was an impressive soothsayer.
The Huskies are currently ranked among the top teams in the state at 28-0 and have advanced to tonight’s PIAA Class A semifinal against Lincoln Park set for 7:30 p.m. at Hempfield High School in Greensburg.
“I told our guys, 28-0 with our schedule, we should be enjoying it,” Huskies coach Cosie Aliquo said after his team’s 63-59 overtime victory over Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic in the quarterfinals. “I’m the lucky one. I get to coach them.
“Lincoln Park is so good. They are so good and so athletic. We’re just going to go and battle. They know what we can bring, and we know what they can bring.
“I’m sure not many people are giving us a chance, but not many gave us a chance to be 28-0 either.”
This year, Bishop Carroll’s path into the PIAA playoffs came from the District 6 championship spot, a change from last year when they were the runner-up squad.
The Huskies crushed Saltsburg (70-28) and Juniata Valley (64-31) in the opening rounds of the district playoffs. Bishop Carroll edged Bishop Guilfoyle 51-48 in the title game, the third time this season that it defeated the Marauders.
The Huskies breezed through their PIAA opening-round opponent, Clarion-Limestone before running into Monessen and surviving 69-65.
Friday’s game against North Catholic was only the fifth time this season that Bishop Carroll has played a game decided by fewer than 16 points, but the Huskies remained poised throughout, even when they fell behind by five at halftime and one of their senior leaders, Marcus Lee, fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
Bishop Carroll 5-foot-10 junior guard Brandon Martinazzi finished with a game-high 22 points and added 11 rebounds against the Trojans while the 6-6 Lee and 5-9 senior Mitchell Madonna each supplied 11. Senior David Maruca, 5-11, added eight points and junior Nik Suckinos, 6-1, supplied seven for the Huskies.
The Leopards (29-1), whose only loss came to Class AAAA New Castle (71-63) way back in December, had its closest win by nine against Kiski School (74-65) on Jan. 25.
In the WPIAL championship, Lincoln Park blasted Monessen 85-41 for its second district crown in seven years of the school’s existence.
The Leopards, who have won their seven playoff games in the WPIAL and PIAA by an average of 44 points, sailed through the PIAA playoffs with wins over Johnsonburg (96-47), avenging last year’s loss to the Rams in the semifinals, and Forbes Road (81-28).
Lincoln Park defeated Vincentian 99-64 Friday night in the quarterfinals.
Sophomore Maverick Rowan, a 6-7 guard, finished with 37 points and nine rebounds against the Royals while teammate Elijah Minnie, a 6-9 senior forward added 19 points and 11 boards, 6-6 senior forward Ryan Skovranko had 14 points and 5-9 freshman guard Nelly Cummings had 14.
Lincoln Park won, 86-84, last year at Hempfield when Ranck’s desperation full-court heave fell short at the buzzer.
“There’s nothing better than getting another shot,” Martinazzi said after Friday’s win. “It’s time to go. We have waited a year for this, and whatever happens, happens. I think we can go all the way, in my opinion, but what these guys have done is so impressive. I couldn’t have asked for a better year.”
The PIAA Class A championship is 2 p.m. Friday at the Giant Center in Hershey.