PATTON - Brandon Martinazzi and Marcus Lee stepped up their games in the second half.
Because they did, Bishop Carroll took another step toward a possible Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference basketball championship by virtue of a 59-47 victory Wednesday night against Cambria Heights. The Huskies won their 13th successive game. They have not lost since dropping a 67-64 decision at Bishop McCort on Dec. 22.
Martinazzi, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, keyed a fullcourt trap that resulted in 16 turnovers. Martinazzi totaled eight steals, many of which led to his game-high 27 points.
"I was trying to anticipate their passes," Martinazzi said. "It was important for us to get some steals. That way we could get up the floor and convert."
Lee, for his part, took over inside. He muscled his way to 14 points and 11 rebounds.
"It was huge," Martinazzi said of Lee's second-half dominance. "I'm not sure how many rebounds he had, but he had a ton of them. He's a huge factor in our team; without him, we struggle. Some nights he's hot. But he's always going to get his rebounds."
Inasmuch as Huskies coach Cosie Aliquo prefers to emphasize the team aspect, even he found it hard to overlook the impact Lee made in the second half.
"I thought Marcus did a really good job on [conference scoring leader Isaac Vescovi] and on the boards. I thought he set the tone of the game with the boards," Aliquo said.
Martinazzi and Lee could not have picked a better time to change the game. Bishop Carroll nursed a 24-23 lead into halftime, thanks largely to Cambria Heights' 3-2 defense and the shooting of Vescovi. He paced the Highlanders with 23 points and nine rebounds.
Bishop Carroll trailed only once, when Vescovi nailed a turnaround jumper with 35 seconds left in the first period to produce an 11-9 Cambria Heights lead. The Huskies managed a 24-19 lead when Martinazzi nailed a 3-pointer with 1:34 left before halftime. Baskets by Brad Hoppel and Nathan Bearer, however, trimmed the difference to one at halftime, 24-23. Hoppel totaled 13 points.
"We knew we were going to have to step it defensively because shots weren't falling early," Martinazzi said. "[Cambria Heights was] kind of containing us in that 3-2 zone."
"In the first half we couldn't get it going," Aliquo said. "[Cambria Heights is] so disciplined you have to have them turn the ball over because if not, they're going to be patient. And they have Isaac there, and you know what happens when he gets the ball."
Bishop Carroll led by as many as seven, 34-27, in the third period. It did not assume total command until the fourth quarter, however, which happened to be when Cambria Heights' struggles against the fullcourt press began to manifest themselves.
"In the second half we had to make some adjustments and send another guy [toward the ballhandler]," Aliquo said. "I told them if we could keep the pressure on them it would wear on their guards. And it started to."
"They were flying around to the ball and they made some good plays," Cambria Heights coach Eric Nagel said. "But we definitely had some turnovers  in the second half."
Nagel acknowledged his team's struggles on the frontcourt, but added other mitigating factors. For instance, the Highlanders made only 7 of 14 at the free-throw line in the second half.
"We missed the front ends on some foul shots," he said "and there were some things that happened that didn't go our way."
Bishop Carroll (59): Maruca 2 0-0 4, Lee 7 0-0 14, Ranck 4 1-2 10, Martinazzi 11 2-2 27, Madonna 0 0-0 0, Suckinos 1 0-0 2, Lucas 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 3-4 59.
Cambria Heights (47): Milanesi 1 0-0 2, Bearer 2 3-4 8, Brawley 0 1-4 1, Hoppel 4 5-8 13, Vescovi 9 2-2 23. Totals 16 11-18 47.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Bishop Carroll11 13 14 21 - 59
Cambria Heights11 12 9 15 - 47
3-point field goals: Bishop Carroll 4 (Martinazzi 3, Ranck), Cambria Heights 4 (Vescovi 3, Bearer).
Records: Bishop Carroll 16-2 (11-2 LHAC I), Cambria Heights 11-8 (6-7 LHAC I).
Officials: Dan Fletcher, Keith Fry, Jim Harnish.
JV: Bishop Carroll, 54-35. High scorers-Lucas, BC, 9; Serafin, CH, 11.