Monessen uses depth to take down Jamestown in PIAA Class A opening round
By: Jeremy Sellew
Friday, March 8, 2019 | 9:47 PM
Monessen boys basketball coach Dan Bosnic knew District 10 champion Jamestown’s weakness was its depth.
And when the Greyhounds saw their chance, they pulled away from the Muskies en route to a 75-54 win in the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs at Edinboro’s McComb Field House.
Leading 40-34 midway through the third quarter, the Greyhounds turned up the full-court pressure and ripped off an 11-1 run to send the Muskies into the offseason.
“We saw they were tired and sucking wind,” guard Devin Whitlock said. “We switched up our defense to our press, and we just stepped on ‘em.”
Whitlock, the Greyhounds’ star freshman, poured in a game-high 23 points to lead the way for a balanced Greyhounds’ attack.
Dishon Howell finished with 12 points and Marquell Smith had 10 points, his last bucket an emphatic left-handed dunk to put the exclamation point on the win.
The Greyhounds will face Bishop Carroll (20-5), a 68-58 winner over North Clarion, in the quarterfinals Tuesday.
Howell’s status was in question heading into the game after suffering a wrist injury over the past week.
“It was a big lift for those guys with Dishon playing,” Bosnic said. “He said he was up at 5 a.m. and going to the doctors this morning. They told him he could try to give it a go, so he went through warmups and said he was good.”
It was a turnaround for the Greyhounds, playing in hostile territory with the Jamestown faithful filling their half of McComb.
“Usually it’s all of Monessen behind us,” Whitlock said. “But it was exciting. We like being the underdogs with all the fans against us.”
For Bosnic, the game plan was simple. Wear the Muskies down.
“I think early on we were a little tight. It’s been 11 days, so I think we kind of had to adjust to being back on the floor,” Bosnic said. “Once we settled into the game, they started to get tired and we were able to wear them down.”
The Muskies gave the Greyhounds (16-9) all they could handle early.
After Monessen opened with a 6-0 lead, the Muskies fought back and took a 12-11 lead with a minute to go in the quarter.
Rarely used sub Dylan Bradshaw entered the game for the Greyhounds and knocked down a 3-pointer on the ensuing offensive possession to give Monessen a 14-12 lead after one.
Bradshaw’s entrance was the first of many moves Bosnic made deep into his bench.
“Dylan came in and hit a really big shot for us. All those guys we subbed in tonight did a great job,” Bosnic said. “We’re confident in those guys when we put them in there.”
The Greyhounds used a 9-3 run to push their lead to 23-17, but Jamestown’s Austin Smith hit a pair of baskets and Dawson Urbansky scored on a strong drive to the basket after a Whitlock free throw to cut Monessen’s lead to 24-23.
Smith, who notched his 1,000th career point in the loss, led the Muskies (12-12) with 17 points. Urbansky finished with 13.
“I give them some credit, they came out on us and were competitive,” Whitlock said. “But we bounced back.”
The Greyhounds extended their lead to 32-28 just before the half. With seconds remaining, it looked as if the Greyhounds were going to turn it over, but Taylon Lowe saved the ball into the hands of Darnel Howell. He launched a slightly off-balanced 3 from the wing and buried it to give the Greyhounds a 35-28 lead at the half.
“That’s one of those subs coming in and making a big play. That play was really big for us,” Bosnic said.
After the Muskies’ Richard Graham scored the opening basket of the second half, Greyhounds reserve Antwon Tucker hit his only basket, a deep 3-pointer from the wing. Whitlock added a breakout layup to make it 40-30 with 5:44 to go in the third.
Darian Keyser, who finished with 14 for Jamestown, finished off a three-point play and Smith went 1 of 2 from the line.
Those were the last Muskies’ points for nearly 2:30 as the Greyhounds started their run to push out to a big lead.
Smith hit his milestone basket with four seconds to go in the frame, but it was only the ninth for Jamestown in the eight minutes. The Greyhounds ended the third with 16 to make it 51-37 heading into the fourth.
Monessen kept the pressure on and built their lead up to 60-40 with 5:26 to go.
After a Darnel Howell slam and an easy layup by Dishon Howell, the lead swelled to 24 with 3:48 to go.
Darnel Howell (9) and Elijahwa Payne (8) combined for 17 points for the Greyhounds.
“This is the type of game I like,” Bosnic said. “We had a ton of guys contributing. That right there is when we’re at our best.”