Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Team of the Week: March 21, 2022

Monday, March 21, 2022 | 9:06 PM

In a one-week span last March, the Bishop Canevin boys basketball team went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.

On March 12, the Crusaders defeated Rochester in the Class A finals to win the program’s first WPIAL championship.

One week later, 10 minutes before tipoff of their PIAA opener against Berlin-Brothersvalley, Bishop Canevin was forced to forfeit the game when school officials learned one of the players not in attendance had tested positive for covid-19.

A year later, there are a lot more highs for the Crusaders after they repeated as district champions and won their first four state playoff games.

“The feeling we had after last year’s forfeit has been in our mind ever since,” Bishop Canevin coach Gino Palmosina said. “Not getting the chance to even play and have our season ended with something we couldn’t control has been a motivating factor for us the past 12 months.”

As the Crusaders prepare to clear one more hurdle, they do with a 24-4 record and as winners of 17 straight games.

Bishop Canevin has played a daunting nonsection schedule with all four losses coming against Class 6A and 5A playoffs teams in Fox Chapel, Central Catholic, Butler and Penn Hills.

“I am not really sure why anyone would not want to play a tough schedule,” Palmosina said. “Those games are not only the most fun but have helped tremendously in getting us where we are today. Our losses to those four teams have been such great teaching points for us. We have learned and matured as a team because of those games.”

After beating a pair of District 9 teams in Johnsonburg and DuBois Central Catholic in the first two rounds of the PIAA playoffs, Bishop Canevin faced fellow WPIAL foe Imani Christian in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

Leading by two points at halftime, the Crusaders opened up the lead in the third quarter and held on in the fourth to win 53-45.

“Being in those situations earlier in the year I think definitely went a long way,” Palmosina said. “In some of our losses in the fourth quarter, we had really bad possessions. In the fourth quarter Tuesday, we were disciplined, took good shots and locked in on the defensive end.”

Another D-9 team, district champion Elk County Catholic, was the only thing in the way of a Bishop Canevin trip to Hershey and the state finals. The two met in a Class A semifinals battle of the Crusaders.

“My staff did an incredible job preparing us for that game,” Palmosina said. “We knew where they liked to get the ball to and took away their best options. Our guys did an incredible job of executing that for 32 minutes.”

The result was a 47-21 triumph for Bishop Canevin.

BC’s balance on offense has been evident on the scoresheet. Five players have led the Crusaders in scoring over their seven WPIAL and PIAA playoff games.

“We have a lot of options, it seems like a different kid gets going every different night,” Palmosina said. “The kids have done a great job not worrying about scoring and getting the ball to the hot hand each night.”

On Thursday in Hershey, Bishop Canevin will try to make more history as it attempts to win the program’s first state championship.

The Crusaders face St. John Neumann, the District 4 champion that is 26-3.

“They are super athletic, and their back court is as quick and fast as anyone we have seen all year,” Palmosina said. “We know they like to get out and run. The last couple games for us have been played at a slower pace. This game will be an up and down game.”

2022 Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Teams of the Week

Week 11 – Gateway Gators

Week 10 – Shady Side Academy Bulldogs

Week 9 – Deer Lakes Lancers

Week 8 – Union Scotties

Week 7 – Ellwood City Wolverines

Week 6 – Freeport Yellowjackets

Week 5 – Baldwin Highlanders

Week 4 – Penn Hills Indians

Week 3 – Carlynton Cougars

Week 2 – North Hills Indians

Week 1 – Cornell Raiders


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