South Xtra: Monessen regroups after dismal game against Beaver Falls

WPIAL CLASS A BOYS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
March 8, 2012 12:01 am
  • Monessen's Chavas Rawlins and Jaisen Irwin try to stop Beaver Falls' Elijah Cottrill as he drives to the basket in the WPIAL Class AA title game.
    Monessen's Chavas Rawlins and Jaisen Irwin try to stop Beaver Falls' Elijah Cottrill as he drives to the basket in the WPIAL Class AA title game.
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For a half, Monessen's chances of successfully defending its WPIAL championship looked OK.

The Greyhounds trailed Beaver Falls by just two points after senior Jaisen Irwin scored the final four points of the half.

But then the wheels came off Monessen's title drive.

A miserable second half spurred by miserable shooting and an outstanding performance by Beaver Falls star Sheldon Jeter helped the No. 2 seed Tigers defeat the No. 1 seed Greyhounds, 46-27, to claim the Class AA championship last Saturday at the Palumbo Center.

"Let's face it: We're the best two Double-A schools in the WPIAL. They came out on top today," Monessen coach Joe Salvino said afterward. "If we score a little bit, who knows what's going to happen. I'm not taking anything away from them and I'm certainly not taking anything away from us."

Beaver Falls took away Monessen's offense, but the Greyhounds (23-3) hope to take away some positives from the loss when they open the PIAA playoffs with a first-round game against District 6 third-place finisher Westmont-Hilltop (20-5) at 6 p.m. Saturday at Gateway.

Monessen has won four WPIAL and two PIAA titles in Salvino's 28 years as head coach. Both of its state championships came in years the Greyhounds didn't win WPIAL titles.

"We have to regroup and go back and start working hard again. That's the bottom line," Salvino said. "I've been through all of this a lot of times. If you can regroup and come back together as a team and go out there and work hard again, who knows what will happen."

Against Beaver Falls, the Greyhounds surely didn't expect to play like they did in the second half. The Tigers pride themselves on terrific man-to-man defense, but they threw the Greyhounds a curveball by switching to a matchup zone in the final half.

Said Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega, "One of my assistant coaches said we have to run [the matchup zone] in the second half. If they get adjusted to it and get hot, we'll get out of it. Obviously they didn't, so we just stayed in that zone the whole second half."


First Published 2012-03-07 23:32:34

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