Monday, January 14, 2013

Pregame: Carmichaels at Monessen

Carmichaels (2-1 Section 3-A, 11-2) at Monessen (3-0 3-A, 4-8), 7:30 p.m.

Last game: Carmichaels is coming off a 76-50 win over Geibel on Jan. 11, one where Brandon Lawless scored a career-high 39 points. ... Monessen earned a 91-38 win over Mapletown the same night, getting 28 points from Clintell Gillaspie and 18 from Luke Doptis.

Next up: Both teams stay in Section 3-A. Monessen is at Clairton (3-0, 5-3) Friday, while Carmichaels plays at Mapletown (1-2, 2-10).

Coaches: Carmichaels is coached by Don Williams, Monessen by Joe Salvino.

This 'n at: Carmichaels two losses are to Clairton (-17) and Jefferson-Morgan (-4), a 5-3 team and a 6-7 squad.

Monessen, meanwhile, started the season 0-7 and 1-8, the only reprieve coming with a forfeit win over Imani Christian. But check out how the Greyhounds have rolled through the section.

*60-23 win over Geibel
*85-46 win over Avella
*91-38 win over Mapletown

But, and this is a big one, those teams are a combined 4-28. Not like Section 3-A will be confused with the Big Ten or the Big East, but this will be the Greyhounds' first test against a fellow section title contender. We'll see how those rough early-season outcomes have paid off.

Faces and names: Monessen, which lost four starters from last year's team, is led by Gillaspie, Doptis and Javon Brown. Justice Rawlins is a physical presence, a rebounder, but the scoring comes from the first three. Tyler Yuille has also come on of late.

Carmichaels, meanwhile, gets the ball to Lawless, along with Sean Smoggie, Josh Mundell and Brennan McMinn. At last check, Lawless was around 16 points per game, Smoggie 12. (Brown was close for Monessen, but no one was averaging double figures.)

Athleticism definitely goes to Monessen, though the Mikes are much more experienced.

Analysis: Monessen has been to the playoffs 31 consecutive times. This hasn't been by accident. The Greyhounds don't just luck into it every year; they're well-coached.

Recently Salvino has had a problem not with his team's losses, but with the effort given. Rest assured this has changed. Either that or those not giving it are gone.

While there's no doubt this is one of the best teams Carmichaels has had in years, I'm not sure they're ready to compete with Monessen. This year will yield a closer result than, say, last year, when the Greyhounds went 25-4 and reached the Class AA final. But even though they're young, they're still Monessen.

I like Monessen to get a few buckets in transition early, to surprise the Mikes. Carmichaels will shoot itself back in it, stick around for a while, then Gillaspie, Brown and Doptis will become too much to handle.

See you there.

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