Greensburg Central Catholic completes season sweep of Serra Catholic

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 | 11:16 PM

The last time Greensburg Central Catholic and Serra Catholic met, the Centurions managed to escape with a two-point win Dec. 20.

Tuesday night’s rematch featured a more lopsided result with the same team coming away victorious.

Tyree Turner netted a game-high 24 points, Franco Alvarez poured in 23 and the first-place Centurions secured the season sweep of the Eagles with an 83-73 road win in Section 3-2A play.

Samir Crosby added a 14-point showing, and Jaydin Canady chipped in with 12 to give GCC (11-5, 7-1) four players in double figures.

“There was a lot of heart shown tonight,” GCC coach Christian Hyland said. “We got off to a really good start and were in attack mode from the get-go.”

Serra Catholic (8-8, 5-3) had to play from behind for a majority of the game as GCC used a late first-quarter run to gain double-digit separation.

The Eagles cut their deficit to as few as two points late in the third quarter, but the Centurions stayed resilient and found a way to maintain their unblemished section mark.

“We warned them and told them we couldn’t come out slow like we have the past few games,” Serra Catholic coach AJ Corso said. “That really killed us.”

The teams went back and forth in the first quarter until GCC took over in the final minute and a half.

The Centurions led 13-10 before Alvarez hit a floater to kickstart an 8-0 run that extended the advantage to 21-10 after one. Crosby followed Alvarez’s bucket with a basket inside and Turner closed out the quarter with back-to-back buckets.

“Turner and Alvarez are great players and they’re hard to stop,” Corso said. “We knew they were going to score, but our defensive plan just didn’t work out tonight.”

GCC scored seven unanswered to begin the second with Canady converting on a 3-pointer and layups by Ryan Kimmel and Alvarez pushing the lead to 28-10.

After a bucket by Joey DeMoss ended what ultimately became a 15-0 spree for GCC, Pete Burke entered the game and began to take over for the Eagles.

He scored the next four points and Owen Dumbroski added a 3-pointer to cut the Serra deficit to 28-19 with 4:22 left.

Burke scored five more points in the final three-plus minutes as he played a big role in the Eagles trimming their deficit to 37-31 heading into halftime. Burke finished with 15 points and was one of five Serra players in double figures.

“He’s a great spark,” Corso said. “When the other guys aren’t hitting their shots, he finds ways to help bring us back.”

GCC’s lead swelled back to 10 points within the first 90 seconds of the third quarter and, despite scratching and clawing by the Eagles, the Centurions maintained their cushion with under three minutes to go.

A sudden surge for Serra helped make it a two-point game, as Elijah Ward and Dumbroski each hit 3-pointers and DeMoss followed with an inside shot to make it 51-49 with around two minutes to go.

“At that moment, we asked our guys to dig down and get another stop,” Corso said. “We just couldn’t come back after they countered our run.”

The slim differential was short lived as the Centurions finished the third on an 11-3 run highlighted by a pair of late 3-pointers from Turner. His trey in the final seconds pushed GCC’s lead back to 10 at 62-52.

“With Serra, you know they’re never going to quit. They call themselves the comeback kids and rightfully so, considering they’ve had a lot of comeback victories,” Hyland said. “I’m proud of our guys, though. It’s not always ideal to let a team back in it, but we know the kids are always going to battle and play hard.”

Both teams scored 21 points in the fourth quarter as GCC, which now holds a two-game lead atop the section standings, clinched its fourth straight victory heading into a home matchup with Leechburg on Friday.

“Everyone is beating everybody, so there is a possibility every night that you can get beat if you let your guard down,” Hyland said. “We’re just trying to take it one game at a time.”

Joining Burke in double figures for the Eagles were Dumbroski with a team-high 19 points, DeMoss with 16, Isiah Petty with 13 and Ward with 10.

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