GCC girls earn convincing win over Beth-Center, remain in tie for first in section

Monday, February 5, 2018 | 10:06 PM

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A broken water pipe and the ensuing damage it did to their court forced Greensburg Central Catholic's girls basketball team to play their most recent home games in the school's lower-level auxiliary gym.

The Centurions have taken a liking to the wider floor.

And with three consecutive wins on the secondary court, they continue to pursue their own high-water mark for the season.

Four players reached double figures Monday night in Carbon as GCC maintained its position in the Section 3-2A title race with a 55-30 victory over Beth-Center.

“They're calling (the gym) the ‘thunder down under,' from what I understand,” GCC coach Joe Eisaman said. “I don't know if it's earned that reputation yet, but, yeah, we like it. We like the upstairs, too. The girls have been making it their home.”

The Centurions (11-8, 10-3) started fast and held Beth-Center to just two free throws in the second quarter as it built a 25-9 lead by the break. They have won nine of their last 11 games.

California (13-5, 10-3) and Serra Catholic (13-6, 10-3) also won, so there remains a three-way tie atop the section.

Sophomore Melina Maietta led the way with 17 points, 11 in the first quarter, when she hit three 3-pointers. Junior Bella Skatell added 11 points, and senior Heaven Hester and junior Anna Eisaman had 10 apiece.

“We played fast and physical,” Joe Eisaman said. “We want to get the ball down the floor. We're beyond looking for the good shot. We want the great shot. We want the extra pass.”

Beth-Center (12-8, 7-6) had not allowed that many points in a game all season.

Senior Kinlee Whited, the Bulldogs' 1,000-point career scorer, was limited to one field goal and 10 points.

Maietta scored 11 of GCC's 18 points in a tone-setting first quarter.

“We have been shooting it well here at practice,” Maietta said. “(Tonight) we shot the lights out. We worked on picking up the pace and running the offense through and getting a good shot. And we played good defense.”

The Bulldogs struggled with GCC's pressure and were forced into turnovers, which played right into GCC's uptempo transition game.

GCC clipped Beth-Center, 35-32, in the teams' first meeting. But the Centurions had that many points with 4 minutes, 30 seconds to go in the third quarter this time. A 10-0 run, including and and-one by Skatell, and fast-break hoops by Maietta and Hester made it 35-12.

Hester's three-point play stretched the lead to 41-18, and, despite a pair of 3s from Maddy Hunyady that cut it to 43-26, the Centurions ended the game on an 8-0 run.

Senior Olivia Stawovy returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's game against Hempfield at Seton Hill for personal reasons.

Hempfield won that game 55-35, the antithesis of Monday's win.

“We have to play better together,” Joe Eisaman said. “We had some players kind of fighting for Olivia's shots. It got out of sync. We were much improved tonight.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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