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Tyrone knocks off Bishop Canevin in first round state playoff action

Coming into the game against Bishop Canevin, Tyrone looked to be the underdog, despite their 22-5 record. The Crusaders represented a 15-13 record, but had won eight of their last ten. Canevin, out of District 7, also comes from a tough District, so they were expected by many to win.
Well, anything can happen in basketball, and Tyrone proved they weren’t a pushover team. The first quarter was all Tyrone behind a spread of scoring from Steve Catich and Nate Dane, who combined for 11 of their 16 in the first. The Crusaders, however, were stuck at six points against Tyrone’s stubborn 3-2 defense.
“We knew coming into the game we had to focus on two players, Steve Mackin and Brian Billigen,” Tyrone head coach George Gripp said. “Last game we used a 3-2 zone against McCort, and we lost track of some guys and they got easy lay-ups against us all game. We really worked hard on the 3-2 set, and knew where Mackin and Billigen were at all times. I think we stunned them with our 3-2 set and it worked great for us throughout the game.”
After a commanding 16-6 lead in the first quarter, Tyrone didn’t look back. The Eagles led all the way through the half and kept the 10-point lead at the break. With the score, 28-18 after one half of play, it was safe to say Tyrone had a great chance to roll up the ‘W’.
If the Crusaders did anything well in Saturday’s game, it was their consistent double-team pressure on the ball at all times. However, they decided to lay off a bit at the start of the second half and Tyrone came out on fire, knocking off a 17-7 run. This put the Eagles on top 45-25 with 2:20 to go in the game.
Was it over already? No, in fact it was far from over as Mackin finished off the quarter with an 8-2 run, cutting it to 47-33. The Crusaders didn’t stop there, as they began shredding Tyrone’s defense throughout the first three minutes of the final quarter, pouring on a 7-0 run.
What once was a 20-point lead was quickly cut to six, and there was still 4:54 to go in the game.
“For some reason we had a couple of turnovers and stopped being aggressive with the ball,” Gripp said. “We weren’t in the right spots in order to break the press, and when we did break it down, we missed easy shots. Thank goodness we managed to make some of the shots late in the game, and Catich came through with two huge offensive put-backs. That was big for us since they had the momentum on their side, but we managed to seal the deal down the stretch.”
Tyrone managed to hold off the Crusader comeback as they finished on a 13-6 run with just under three minutes to go in the game, winning 60-47 at North Hills High School in Pittsburgh.
Tyrone rallied behind Catich and crew, but the key to the game was their defense. The Eagles forced 19 Crusader turnovers, and shot 23-58 from the floor. Catich led the way with 16 points, moving his total up to 611 for the season. Dane used some swift moves in the paint to get 14 points, and Matt Brooks dominated the 15-footers all day long, chipping in 10 points.
Tyrone moves on to play North East next Wednesday, in the second round of the state playoffs where the challenge gets tougher with each game played.
Bishop Canevin fought hard, but looked flat the entire game.
Mackin and Billigen truly were the only threats on the court for the Crusaders, and when they didn’t score, the team didn’t score. The two still managed to combine for 37 points, despite struggling early on in the game. It was a valiant effort, but Tyrone was just too tough in the end.
“We’ve had spread scoring from everyone to get us here this season. Brandon Gehret was a key to our scoring Saturday, but he knows when to pick his shots,” Gripp explained. “He’s really good at driving in for lay-ups, and being left-handed throws defenders off when they match up with him. When that ball gets skipped around two or three times, he has been the recipient lately and has been knocking it down. I’m glad to see he’s coming around with that set jumper in the past few games.”
Tyrone 60 Bishop Canevin 47
Tyrone – Catich 6 4-5 16, Dane 6 2-3 14, Brooks 4 2-2 10, Gehret 4 0-0 9, Updyke 2 1-5 6, Peterman 1 0-0 3, Ingle 0 2-3 2. Totals 23 11-18 60.
Bishop Canevin – Mackin 5 8-9 21, Billigen 5 5-5 16, Knerr 2 0-0 4, Young 1 0-0 2, Preskon 0 1-2 1, Koziar 1 1-3 3. Totals 14 15-19 47.
Score by Quarters
Tyrone 16 12 19 13 – 60
Bishop Canevin 6 12 15 14 – 47
Three-point goals: Tyrone-3 (Gehret, Updyke, Peterman)
Bishop Canevin-4 (Mackin-3, Billigen-1)