CV boys rebound to beat Strong Vincent, 71-54, in PIAA playoffs
Basketball, says Tim McConnell, is a fairly simple game. Score more points than your opponent and you win.
“But you can’t score when you turn the ball over and when you turn the ball over, then you’re not getting opportunities to score.”
Such was the case in Chartiers Valley’s 71-54 victory over Erie Strong Vincent in a first-round PIAA Class AAA boys’ playoff game at Baldwin. In the first half, the Colts struggled to a 32-29 lead. They turned the ball over 14 times.
“We turned the ball over way too much,” explained McConnell. “In the second half, we did a lot better and we got better shots and we got better opportunities.”
In the second half, the Colts forced the Colonels to make the mistakes. On back-to-back dunks by Spencer Casson and off back-to-back steals for consecutive lay-ups by Matty McConnell, CV broke open the game late in the third quarter, streaking to a 52-40 advantage.
“We guarded better in the second half, especially on the press and when we got the steals and scored on lay-ups, that was how we were able to expand the gap,” explained McConnell. “We did a great job.”
The Colts did a commendable job in rebounding from their disappointing loss to Montour, 47-40, in the WPIAL championship game played a week ago.
“It’s tough to get going after that,” McConnell said. “I was worried about how we would come out. I’m happy we get to go on and play some more.”
Thanks to Casson and the young McConnell, the Colts weathered the Colonels’ best punch. Strong Vincent jumped ahead, 17-16. Joey Otto led the team with 20 tallies.
“We knew they were very athletic,” McConnell said, “but we thought that we could wear them down and get the turnovers.”
Casson wore the Colonels down on the inside. He finished with 22 markers, 15 of which came in the middle frames. McConnell totaled 15 points. Dom Castello followed with 12 tallies. He buried a pair of 3-point field goals in the second stanza, including the one to end the quarter and lift CV to a three-point lead at intermission.
Michael Boulos, who had the buzzer beater in the first frame, provided seven points as did Andreo Coury.
With the win, CV improved to 23-4 overall. The Colts will play Greater Johnstown, a 49-43 winner over Lancaster Catholic, in the second round of the state playoffs set for March 12 at a site and time to be determined.
In other action, Montour defeated South Fayette, 52-43. The Spartans, who are 23-4 overall, will play Girard, a 66-62 winnver over Mars, in the second round of the state playoffs set for March 12 at a site and time to be determined.