Big third quarter the difference as North Catholic beats Seton LaSalle

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Friday, January 24, 2020 | 11:02 PM


The showdown for first place in Section 2-3A was tight in the first half, as North Catholic led Seton LaSalle by five at the break.

Then the third quarter started, the Rebels blinked, and the highest scoring team in the WPIAL took control with a big run to begin the second half.

North Catholic outscored Seton LaSalle 11-0 in the first two and a half minutes of the second half and never looked back, as they swept the season series and took control of the section with a 77-64 road victory for the Trojans’ eighth straight win.

“To me, that was the game,” North Catholic coach Dave DeGregorio said. “To come out and extend the lead from five to 16 in the first two or three minutes of the third quarter, I just wish we had continued to put on the gas.

“I just think we came out with a good mindset of we were going to play hard and be super aggressive, and I think they did both offensively and defensively.”

Despite the 13-point win, the game was a far cry from the first meeting between the two co-section champs from a year ago.

North Catholic senior Isaac DeGregorio scored 30 points in the first half of that December contest, as the Trojans crushed the Rebels by 40 points, 87-47.

On Friday, DeGregorio scored only five first-half points but was a huge factor defensively and distributing the basketball on offense.

“One of the things we tried to do is we really worked hard at trying to hold Isaac down, but their other guys really stepped it up,” Seton LaSalle coach Mark Walsh said. “Make no mistake; he’s a very good player. Give him credit.”

DeGregorio played a big role in the quick start in the third quarter as he assisted on a Jackson Paschall bucket, hit a layup and then drilled a 3-pointer, with his five points in that sequence coming off Seton LaSalle turnovers.

The Trojans’ lead ballooned from 40-35 at the half to 51-35 minutes into the second half.

“They made a little run at the end of the second quarter that gave them a little cushion at the half,” Walsh said. “They came out and scored on their first two possessions of the third quarter, and once they built it to 11, I knew from that point, it was going to be tough.”

North Catholic built their lead to as many as 20 points, but Seton LaSalle battled and got as close as seven points before the Trojans pulled away for good.

Seniors DeGregorio and Paschall led North Catholic with 14 points each. The Trojans’ balanced attack also saw senior Ryan Faczko score 13 and junior big man Andrew Ammerman add 11 points as North Catholic finished two points under its season average of 79 points per game.

“That’s the thing, saying we can take him out of the game,” DeGregorio said of opposing teams trying to slow down his son, Isaac. “But we’ve got too many guys who can play. We’re very happy with our depth.”

North Catholic (14-2) is 8-0 atop Section 2-3A, two games up in the loss column over Seton LaSalle and Carlynton with only four section games left.

Michael Bigley had a game-high 19 points for Seton LaSalle (7-2, 11-5), while fellow seniors Dylan Preston and Daniel Boehme added 14 points for the Rebels, who saw their seven-game win streak come to an end.

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