Monessen Hounds Jeannette In 7th WPIAL Championship Victory

Friday, February 27, 2015 | 10:44 PM

The Monessen Greyhounds (20-6) defeated the Jeannette Jayhawks 73-57 to win their seventh WPIAL championship at the Petersen Events Center on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh Friday night. Joe Salvino, in his 31st year at the helm of the Greyhounds, won his fifth title.

It was the depth of the Greyhounds that seemed to wear down Jeannette (16-8) throughout the length of the evening. The Jayhawks led at the end of the first period 14-13, but Monessen ratcheted up the defensive pressure in the second quarter and never looked back from there, outscoring Jeannette in the second quarter 21-10 to take a 10-point lead into the break, 34-24.

Noah Rullo and Lavalle Rush each had nine points in the first half for Monessen. The Greyhounds trapping, defensive pressure gave Jeannette fits all night, but especially in the second quarter as they forced turnover after turnover. “For us all season long it has been about getting it started with our defense.” Coach Salvino said.

Jeannette was game after the break, getting the lead down to three points in the third quarter as Julian Batts scored seven of his team-high 15 points in the period. But Monessen answered with a run to end the period behind six points from sophomore Justice Rice, who led all scored for the game with 21 on the night.

Fatigue became a factor for Jeannette as Coach Salvino was able to go deep into his bench without much drop-off on the defensive end at all, as he told MSA in the postgame show “We have some good depth and our kids come off the bench and get after it, they know what we expect of them and that has been big for us all season.”

The Greyhounds got 16 combined points from the duo of Lavalle Rush and Rice in the fourth period to seal the deal and with three minutes remaining the game was all but decided. Rush finished the game with 18 points for Monessen.

In addition to the 15 points from Batts, Jeannette also got 15 from junior forward Anthony Schmidt.

After the game Rice reflected on the tradition that is Monessen basketball, saying “It’s huge, my grandfather played for Monessen, and my dad played for Coach Salvino, they tell me stories all the time and now I have a story to tell my kids and my grandkids in the future.”

Monessen improves to 20-6 on the year and enters the PIAA tournament as the top-seed out of District 7. Jeannette sees their record fall to 16-8 on the year,  but the Jayawks also move onto the PIAA tournament as the two-seed out of the WPIAL.

Scoring by Quarters         1             2             3             4             F
Monessen                          13           21           18           21           73
Jeannette                           14           10           22           11           57

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