By TIM CLEVELAND
With Lowellville making a comeback in the third quarter Friday night, McDonald stepped up its game and put together a run like it tends to do.
The Blue Devils went on a 13-0 spurt to end the quarter and earned a 70-61 victory over their Inter Tri-County League rival.
“Our goal is relentless pressure,” McDonald coach Jeff Rasile said. “That’s when we get those runs. We were able to get that run and they missed some shots and we took advantage and made some layups.”
Not only did McDonald (11-3, 7-3 ITCL Tier 2) gain the hard-fought victory, but Matt Seitz moved closer to the school’s scoring record. The 6-foot-3 senior scored 33 points Friday, moving him to within 51 of Jesse Morgan’s mark of 1,202 points, which was set in the early 1980s.
“It’s just another accomplishment I would like,” Seitz said. “That’s not the ultimate goal in my life. It would feel good to have it under my belt.”
Rasile said that while Seitz has been a top scorer his entire varsity career, he’s been on an especially outstanding roll recently.
“Matt’s an offensive machine,” Rasile said. “The kid plays great basketball. We wanted him to get on the boards a little bit more, but he can score.
“Offensively, he’s probably averaging 27, 28 a game. He’s scored (at least) 30 in the last three games. The kid can shoot the basketball.”
Seitz also led the Blue Devils in their 13-0 run in the third quarter. After Paolo DePasquale scored four consecutive points to give Lowellville (11-2, 7-2) a 43-42 advantage – its first since it was 19-16 — Seitz got right to work, hitting consecutive jumpers for a 46-43 lead. He later added a 3-pointer to give McDonald a 51-43 advantage before Ken Greaver scored four more points for a 55-43 lead to close out the quarter.
“Our defense picked it up in the second half,” Seitz said. “We were really struggling in the first half. Coach got on my back, saying how I wasn’t being more aggressive, wasn’t hustling out there. I really stepped it up in the second half.”
Greaver finished with 21 points.
Lowellville coach Mike Mangine said McDonald’s defensive pressure played a big part in his team’s defeat.
“I just think that they put the pressure on us and there were just forces out there that are uncontrollable and we got through, came back, and there just wasn’t enough time,” he said. “McDonald’s a good team. They put pressure on you and tonight they were the better team.”
Down by double digits, the Rockets made an effort to get back in the game in the fourth quarter. DePasquale scored six of his 21 points in the final period. The closest Lowellville got in the fourth was 69-61 on a DePasquale basket with 32.6 seconds left.
“I think we can play with them on any given night,” Mangine said. “I just think there’s forces that are uncontrollable and beyond our control. When that stuff happens, you’ve just got to get through it and hope for the best at the end.”