Devils ride big quarter in rout
By Brandon Judeh
It’s been a long time since McDonald boys basketball coach Jeff Rasile has lost a regular-season game.
Nearly five years to be exact.
Rasile’s winning streak reached 67 games Tuesday night as the Blue Devils pummeled the Lowellville Rockets, 86-49, at Robert H. McClary Gymnasium.
The game, which was dominated start to finish by McDonald (4-0), was a display of typical Rasile basketball.
Tough defense, speed and a bountiful offense.
“Offensively we have some kids who can put the ball in the hoop, but defensively we still need to get better,” Rasile said.
After watching the Blue Devils put on a clinic defensively in the third quarter — when they allowed just two points — it is hard to believe there is room for improvement.
“We worked hard out there tonight and brought the intensity in the third quarter after coach [Rasile] gave us a great speech at halftime,” said junior Matt Seitz.
Stephen Politano led McDonald with 21 points, Christian Rusinowski and Tyler Smith each added 17 and Seitz had a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.
Lowellville (1-3) took a bit of momentum into the locker room after going on a mini four-point run to cut the deficit to eight.
But the Blue Devils ran off the first 11 points of the second half on their way to a 29-2 third-quarter onslaught.
“We came out and knew it was going to be a tough half. McDonald always turns it up in the second half,” said Lowellville coach Mike Mangine. “Unfortunately we came out and missed our first four shots, including a wide-open layup, and pretty soon they built a big lead.”
The Rockets played well in the first half, including a first quarter that saw them shoot 53 percent from the field. But McDonald outplayed Lowellville all night. The Blue Devils shot 66 percent in the first quarter.
Rasile, who returned to coaching this season after taking last year off, knows that his team is going to have a huge target on its back all season, especially because of his winning streak.
“It’s a lot of pressure, a lot of sleepless nights because in general I just want to win every game,” he said. “However, we always set our sights on district championships. The kids never talk about the streak, we just focus on one game at a time and I think that is why we have been so successful.”
Nick Ballone led Lowellville with 15 points.