MCA's hopes still alive
MOUNT CARMEL - Mount Carmel picked up a key win in its drive for a district playoff berth Wednesday, beating Montoursville, a team with just two wins but one which came against the Red Tornadoes.
Mount Carmel got solid efforts throughout the lineup for a 47-31 Heartland Conference Division II win over the Warriors, but for a time it looked like the Red Tornadoes were going to repeat their earlier sleepwalking performance against them.
In that game, Mount Carmel had a 12-4 lead but eventually lost, 44-40. This time, Jalile Best scored all 10 of his points and had five of his six rebounds in the first half to help the Warriors take a 21-20 lead.
But the Tornadoes limited Montoursville to just 10 points in the second half, and pulled away with an early 7-0 spurt to start the fourth quarter, shooting their lead from seven points to 14 at 37-23. Ray Heromin and Rob Varano each converted steals into layups during that run.
"I guess we put you to sleep in the first half," said Mount Carmel coach John Lazicki, whose team is now 7-6 overall and 4-4 in the division. "But Montoursville (2-12, 2-5) is big and physical, and they move in that (2-3) zone well."
But shooting is not something the Warriors do well. They made just 3 of 23 shots in the second half and were 8 for 40 for the game, and turned the ball over 23 times.
Ben Scicchitano was Mount Carmel's only player in double figures, with 10 points, but a look at the box score shows a remarkable similarity in the Tornadoes' numbers. Elijah Duran scored eight points with five rebounds, Varano had six points with four rebounds and four assists, Heromin had six points with three rebounds and two steals, and Zach Tocyloski had six points, three rebounds, and three steals.
Zach Wasilewski and Tyler Kwiatkowski came off the bench with six points, six rebounds and three assists, and four points and four rebounds, respectively.
"That's kind of the way this team is," Lazicki said. "My guys don't get down on themselves and they all contribute something. I have trouble yanking kids sometimes, because they'll make a great rebound, then turn the ball over. It's kind of the way we are, but they're all good kids."
Mount Carmel now faces a tough stretch of eight games in 13 days, with the next three being against Lewisburg, Shamokin and Loyalsock. The Red Tornadoes would like to win two of those three and probably need to win at least one to keep their district playoff hopes alive.
"Lewisburg's up here," Lazicki said, using his hands to demonstrate that the Green Dragons are the best team in the division, "and Loyalsock's just below them. And with Shamokin (3-10 but not a division opponent) you don't know."
MONTOURSVILLE (31) - Miller 1 0-0 2, Best 2 4-4 10, Ranck 1 6-6 8, O'Malley 0 0-0 0, Krezmer 2 0-0 5, Bair 0 0-0 0, Persun 1 1-2 3, Evans 1 1-2 3, Pepperman 0 0-0 0, McMahon 0 0-0 0, Ulmer 0 0-0 0. Totals 8 12-14 31.
MOUNT CARMEL (47) - Tocyloski 0 5-6 5, Varano 2 0-0 4, Duran 3 2-2 8, Heromin 3 0-2 6, Scicchitano 4 0-0 10, Dillon 0 0-0 0, C. Lynott 0 0-0 0, Wasilewski 3 0-0 6, Kwiatkowski 2 0-1 4, Beierschmitt 0 0-0 0, Kelly 2 0-0 4, Lynott 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 7-11 47.
3-point FGs: Montoursville (3) - Best 2, Krezmer; Mount Carmel (2) - Scicchitano 2.
JV: Mount Carmel 43, Montoursville 40.