GIRARD — Two teams, gearing up for the playoffs, faced off when McDonald visited Girard on Monday.
The Indians put together some offensive runs that left McDonald looking for answers, as Girard walked away with a 61-41 victory.
“It was a good game,” said Girard senior Jordan Grant. ” Everyone gave their heart out. It’s a good win heading into tomorrow. Everyone is going to come out and support us. It should be a good game.”
Girard hosts the undefeated Springfield Tigers tonight at 7.
“We’re excited Springfield is coming in,” Girard coach Craig Hannon said. “They’re a good basketball team. They’re playing well. We’re excited for the opportunity.
“We came out with good intensity tonight. We took a tough loss on Friday. We were able to bounce back. Our focus, early on, was really good.”
The Blue Devils never found an answer for Thomas Cardiero (team-high 20 points), or Gus Johnson (18 points). Cardiero scored 9 in the first, and Girard was up 14-0. The Indians led 20-7 after one quarter.
Greg Costantino scored a game-high 25 points for McDonald. He hit four from behind the arc in the contest. His 3-pointer, with four minutes left in the second quarter, got the Devils within eight points, but that was as close as the game would get.
Mike Palmer dove to the floor to steal the ball. He flipped it to Bobby Alejars, who finished. Ryan Fitzgerald took it to the hoop, and the Indians had a 35-24 halftime lead.
Senior Ashton Pozega scored underneath for Girard (12-8) early in the third.
“We played pretty hard,” Pozega said. “We’ve had some ups and downs this season, but we’re turning it on heading into the tournament. We play together as a team, and we’re coached well.”
Gus Johnson was unstoppable as the game went on. He completed an and-one. Then, drilled one from downtown, and came flying in for an offensive rebound, as the Indians built a 53-32 advantage.
“Gus Johnson is electric in the open court,” McDonald coach James Franceschelli said. “It doesn’t help when they go on a 14-0 run to start the game, and an 11-0 run in the second half. It’s hard to come back from that.”
McDonald (6-14) has been without leading scorer senior Michael Porter (18 ppg) for the past two games.
“We never quit playing,” Franceschelli said. “We’ve had a rough stretch. Michael is nursing a high ankle sprain. We’re hoping to have him back Saturday against Struthers. It hurts not having him out there. We have Wellsville in the tournament next Tuesday.”
Mathew Porter made a 3-pointer, and Nolan Agler had a steal and a lay-up, but Jordan Johnson nailed one from long distance as Girard closed it out.
The Indians will host Canton South next Tuesday in the first round of the playoffs.
“Everything we’re doing right now is gearing up to get ready for that first tournament game,” Hannon said. “We’ve had a real focus on what they do. It’s going to be tough. They’re well coached. They have big bodies. But, I like the guys we have in our locker room as well.”