By Tom Williams
Racing out to a 14-point lead in the first quarter, the McDonald High boys basketball team appeared to be on its way to a romp.
But despite a rough start, Lowellville refused to quit, sinking nine 3-pointers in the second half of Friday’s game to keep the Blue Devils in range.
It wasn’t enough. Powered by senior Matt Seitz’s 34 points and eight rebounds, McDonald triumphed, 87-76. Ken Greaver scored 23 points and had seven rebounds and four blocks while Anthony Pugh contributed 20 points.
“Relentless — same old McDonald,” Lowellville coach Mike Mangine said of the Blue Devils’ attack that saw them open up an 18-4 lead. “They played a better game than us tonight — they deserved it.”
The Blue Devils (2-1, 1-1 Inter Tri-County League Tier Two) increased their advantage to 43-25 at halftime.
“This was so fun,” Seitz said. “It was intense, the crowd was hyped. Kenny knocked down some big shots tonight and grabbed a lot of rebounds. Our role [players] — Jake Reckard, Zack Fedyski — were finding me. We really clicked tonight.”
Seitz and Greaver each scored eight points as the Blue Devils took a 23-10 lead after one quarter.
“They are our scorers,” McDonald coach Jeff Rasile said. “We lost big scorers from last year and these guys have [replaced them] so far this year.”
Although he scored just one point, Fedyski, a sophomore guard, was a key player, making seven steals in the first half.
“It’s like he eats a pound of sugar before he comes to the game,” Seitz said. “He works as hard as anyone.”
Rasile called Fedyski “our sparkplug. He goes into the game and runs all over the place. We expect him to cause some chaos, get some turnovers.”
The tone changed a bit in the second half when the Rockets (2-1, 1-1) started connecting from outside.
Nick Piccirillo made three 3-pointers in each of the third and fourth quarters.
“Our kids lost composure for a while, but we hung in there,” Mangine said.
Pat Mangine’s 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter sliced McDonald’s lead to 61-49. Rasile wasn’t surprised.
“Lowellville can hit 3s,” Rasile said. “That’s been their game for years. They really shoot the ball well.”
Seitz took charge in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 points to keep the Rockets from getting too close.
“One positive tonight is that we worked harder than we’ve worked all year,” Rasile said.
“Guys were diving and running and trying. We’ve built our program on work ethic, hustle — and we haven’t gotten that so far this year.
“We got it tonight.”
Greaver didn’t mind that Lowellville hung tough. “These are the games you practice for,” Greaver said. “You want to play [competitive] games. It’s not fun playing in blowouts.”
Piccirillo led the Rockets with 19 points. Alex Harklerode scored 18 and Cole Beatty 17. Pat Mangine and Paolo DePasquale each scored 11.
“They’re good players, we expected that,” Greaver said of the Rockets. “We knew they were going to hit big shots.”