CHARLEROI -- The game was tied at halftime, but the Brownsville boys basketball squad couldn’t rally in the second half and dropped a WPIAL Class AAA preliminary round playoff game to Carlynton, 70-55, in the Herald-Standard Boys Game of the Week Friday night at Charleroi High School.
The Falcons (11-12) were outscored 41-27 in the second half. Brownsville was looking for its first playoff win since 2014, a preliminary round victory over Brentwood. Brownsville is 1-5 in the preliminary round since 2008.
The Cougars (9-14) moved on to play top-seeded Lincoln Park in the first round on Monday at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic.
DeQuay Canon led a quartet of double-digit scorers for Carlynton with 28 points. Ian Gallaher collected 14 points and Chauncie Mickens scored 13, while Morgan Ault registered 11 off the bench for the Cougars.
“Carlynton’s athleticism and their ability to hit some threes really hurt us in the second half,” Brownsville coach Mark Marino said. “We had some defensive breakdowns and we were cold on the offensive end. I’m really proud of our guys for what they did this season. I thought our guys handled this playoff atmosphere well and were not afraid of the moment.”
Shandon Marshall led all scorers with 32 points for the Falcons, while Johnny Hovanec and Vandell Page chipped in with eight apiece.
Trailing 5-0 in the opening minutes of the contest, Brownsville rattled off eight straight points to take its first lead of the game.
After both teams traded 3-pointers, Carlynton went on a 6-0 run to regain the lead, but Brownsville battled back and ended the opening frame with a 6-0 run for a 17-14 lead.
Nick Seto scored the opening bucket in the second quarter to stretch the Falcons’ lead to 19-14, but the Cougars rebounded with nine unanswered points.
Brownsville, who entered the postseason winning six of its last seven games, ended the first half with a 10-6 rally and tied things at the intermission, 29-29.
“We defended really well down the stretch (of the regular season),” Marino said. “We had a lot of our younger kids step up and we had a more balanced scoring attack. The kids were finding their roles and was given Shandon some relief on offense. We started this game really strong, we just couldn’t maintain that flow on offense.”
Both offenses were in sync at the start of the third period, as the squads traded points and the lead throughout the quarter. A three-point play by Phil Pace gave the Falcons a 42-39 lead with 5:10 left in the third.
The Cougars mounted a game-deciding rally and secured command of the preliminary round contest by ending the third quarter with a 10-2 burst for a 49-44 lead.
It was all Carlynton to start the fourth quarter, as the Cougars increased their lead to 59-47 after starting the period with a 10-3 run.
Brownsville responded with six straight points, the final bucket being an inside hoop by Marshall, but the Cougars countered with the final run of the night and came away with the postseason victory after ending the game with an 11-2 run.
The Falcons returns a strong nucleus for next season, but will miss its three seniors: Marshall, Hovanec and Austin Campbell.
“It’s tough to see those three seniors leave,” Marino said. “They meant so much to the program. Shandon is a special player and he will be missed. Those seniors laid down the groundwork of making this program legitimate. We return a young group, and they have to put in the work during the offseason. Like in any sport, the offseason is always so key.”
WPIAL Playoff Sum
Carlynton 14-15-20-21 -- 70
Brownsville 17-12-16-11 -- 55
Carlynton: DeQuay Canton 28, Ian Gallagher 14, Chauncie Mickens 13, Morgan Ault 11. Brownsville: Shandon Marshall 32, Johnny Hovanec 8, Vandell Page 8. Records: Carlynton (9-14), Brownsville (11-12).