After long rest, Monessen boys set to face Jamestown in PIAA playoffs
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 | 5:24 PM
At this point in past seasons, the buzz about District 10’s Class A champion has been all about Kennedy Catholic.
With the Golden Eagles soaring to Class 6A, D-10 crowned a new champion in Class A, the Jamestown Muskies.
And the Muskies have found themselves in the crosshairs of the Monessen Greyhounds.
The Greyhounds (15-9) and Muskies (12-11) will meet Friday in a PIAA first-round matchup at Edinboro. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. at McComb Field House.
Friday will be 11 days since the Greyhounds last took the court for a game. But coming off an emotional loss to Vincentian Academy in the WPIAL semifinals, Monessen coach Dan Bosnic said the break has been beneficial to his team.
“Not just physically, but mentally, it’s allowed us to recover a bit,” Bosnic said. “We’ve really been able to refocus on the things we need to do and get ready for this game.”
While many times teams aren’t sure what to expect heading into a state playoff game, Bosnic and assistant coach Craig Rice had the opportunity to check out the Muskies during the D-10 championship game against Commodore Perry at Meadville High School on Friday.
“We had a chance to get a good look at what they may try to do to us,” Bosnic said. “It helps when you can see them live.”
Bosnic said the matchup will feature contrasting styles.
“They have really good size. They’re going to look to settle in and get into their sets,” he said. “Of course, we’re going to look to be aggressive and force their hand and make them play our style.”
The Muskies are led by a pair of 6-foot-5 forwards in junior Darian Keyser and Austin Smith.
“(Smith) is really good on the offensive boards,” Bosnic said. “He had a lot of offensive rebounds against Commodore Perry, he’s really active.”
Smith leads the team with 16.5 points per game. Keyser is averaging 13.1 points.
The Muskies get things started with the ball in the hands of senior point guard Dawson Urbansky (15 ppg).
“(Urbansky) can penetrate from different areas on the floor,” Bosnic said. “He’s about 6-2 with really good hands.
“They have really good shooters, so that’s another thing we need to be prepared for.”
Elliot Steadman (8.4 ppg) and Richard Graham (9 ppg) round out the Muskies’ starting lineup. The first guy off the bench is freshman Peyton McElhinny.
“I know they don’t go deep into their bench, that’s something that could play to our favor,” Bosnic said.
The matchup could come down to which point guard has their way with the opposing defense.
The Greyhounds are led by freshman sensation Devin Whitlock, who’s averaging nearly 19 points.
Bosnic said senior Dishon Howell is a game-time decision after suffering an injury to his wrist.
The first-year coach said he’s not sure if he wants to “go big” with his starters or not.
The Greyhounds’ big lineup would include Whitlock, Darnel Howell, Dawayne Howell, Elijahwa Payne and Marquell Smith.
If he chooses not to go big, Smith would give way to guard Jalen Brice as the fifth starter if Dishon Howell is a no-go.
Getting into that style shouldn’t be an issue following a two-and-a-half hour bus ride to Edinboro for the Greyhounds.
“We’re going to leave around 2:30 p.m., we’ll let the kids know what they’re going to need to do for when that bus ride is over,” Bosnic said. “The cafeteria does a real nice job of making sure we have some food for on the way up.”
Bosnic said the Greyhounds need to be wary of maintaining their aggressive style of play while not getting into foul trouble. It cost them in the WPIAL semifinal.
“That’s something we’re always preaching to the guys, and it’s something we always work on,” Bosnic said. “We’ve stressed it all year and are continuously working on being in the right position defensively.”
Bosnic, like his predecessor Joe Salvino, continued to play a rugged nonsection schedule to prepare for games such as this. With D-10 having less Class A teams to compete against, he’s sure the teams both had their share of tough out-of-class schedules. That skews the records a bit and makes looking at them insignificant.
“I’m sure they were forced to play a tough schedule, just like we pride ourselves on the games we play,” Bosnic said. “I foresee it being an advantage for us because it prepares us for games like this.”