GREENSBURG - The way Scott Ranck was playing in the second half of Bishop Carroll Catholic's PIAA quarterfinal game against Lincoln Park, his teammates truly believed his 90-foot heave at the buzzer just might be going in.
It came up a little short and off to the left, but the Huskies left quite an impression on those in attendance at Hempfield Area High School Friday. Bishop Carroll overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to take a five-point lead in the fourth quarter before falling, 86-84.
"I thought for a second [Ranck's shot] was going in," Bishop Carroll's Brandon Martinazzi said. "I trust that kid more than anyone to take a shot at the end. When he threw it up, I thought he might just make it."
Mirror photos by Patrick Waksmunski
Bishop Carroll’s Scott Ranck is consoled by his dad, Jerry, after the Huskies saw their season ended by Lincoln?Park Friday night.
Lincoln Park's Maverick Rowan was fouled with 0.4 of a second to play and missed a free throw. The ball came down into Ranck's hands, and he immediately fired a nearly full-court shot.
"Any time he has his hands on the ball, I think it's going in if he's shooting it," Bishop Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo said. "He can flat out shoot the basketball. If his hand is on the basketball and he's shooting it, I'm pretty confident it's going in."
Ranck gave his Bishop Carroll teammates every reason to believe when he hit a sideways heave from well beyond the 3-point line to end the third quarter and bring the Huskies within two points. The lone Carroll senior starter finished with 26 points, and 24 of them came in the second half.
"I definitely had a better second half than first half," Ranck said. "I thought after I hit that shot at the buzzer that we had it. We had battled back, and we had all the momentum."
The 3-pointer capped a 10-0 Bishop Carroll run in the final minute of the third quarter. Ranck eventually tied the game on a jumper with 7:49 to play.
The tie marked the first of the game. The Leopards jumped ahead 7-2 early and led, 35-15, with 6:12 to play in the second quarter.
"You can look at the second-chance points and the offensive rebounding they got," Ranck said. "They controlled us in the first half. They pounded us on the boards. I don't think they really played that well in the first half, it was just the offensive rebounds."
The 20-point lead was built largely though the performance of Elijah Minnie. The 6-foot-8 junior scored 42 points, secured 20 rebounds and blocked three shots. To put things in perspective, as a team, Lincoln Park had just 27 rebounds total.
Minnie joined the Leopards in January after his fourth appeal to transfer from Summit Academy to Lincoln Park was accepted by the PIAA.
"We knew that we had the size advantage, and we tried to exploit their weaknesses," Lincoln Park coach Mark Javens said. "Elijah Minnie has a lot of length, and we've been trying to push him into the post. Sometimes he finds his way out to the perimeter, and he can shoot out there, but we want him taking up space in the post."
Minnie drifted to the outside for most of the second half, but he still had a major impact on the game, making a 3-pointer to give Lincoln Park a 69-66 lead early in the fourth.
However, the Bishop Carroll surge wasn't over yet.
Martinazzi, who finished with a team-high 28 points, scored six straight for the Huskies, and Ranck stole a pass and made an easy layup to put Carroll ahead, 74-69.
"We really came out in the second half ready to go," Martinazzi said. "We had a lot of momentum, but we just didn't finish."
Minnie ended the Huskies' run with a 3-pointer to start a 8-0 Lincoln Park push that gave the Leopards a 77-74 lead, but Martinazzi fired back by making a 3-pointer with 3:58 to play that tied the game once again.
"We lost track of [Ranck] and [Martinazzi], obviously," Javens said. "Those two kids can really stroke it. I knew those two were good players, but I didn't think they could shoot as well as they did tonight."
Lincoln Park went back ahead by three points on a trey by Ryan Skovranko, but Ranck answered it with one of his own to tie the game at 82.
Minnie made a pair of free throws, and Marcus Lee converted a layup with 1:47 to play for another tie.
Lincoln Park (22-6) missed a shot on its end, and Ranck got the rebound, but David Maruca missed an open 10-foot jumper for Bishop Carroll.
"If he was listening to me, I said, 'hit it,'" Aliquo said. "Any time my guys are open, I have all the faith in the world in them hitting a jumper. I was happy with him taking it. If that shot goes in, we're up two. It didn't. I can live with that."
On Lincoln Park's next possession, Minnie was fouled and made a pair of free throws with 1:07 left.
Bishop Carroll ran the clock down to 4.7 seconds, calling two timeouts and drawing a foul while doing so, before Martinazzi drove to the basket and lost the ball. The Leopards came up with it and called a timeout.
"We kind of got caught up a little bit, and I tried to penetrate and looked to kick it back to Scott [Ranck]," Martinazzi said. "Their kid just put his hand in the right spot and knocked the ball loose, and it's unfortunate."
Skovranko missed a free throw, and the Huskies got the ball with 1.9 seconds left, but the inbounds pass was stolen by Rowan, who finished with 23 points. Rowan was fouled with 0.4 left.
The Huskies (23-6) will lose only Ranck and Connor Semelsberger to graduation.
"[Ranck] is a great player, and a leader," said Lee, who finished with 16 points after scoring a career-high 33 against Vincentian in the second round. "We're losing experience. He was the kid that we gave the ball to with the game on the line."
LINCOLN PARK (86): Kellem 1 0-0 2, Skovranko 5 0-1 11, Rowan 9 2-3 23, Minnie 16 6-7 42, J. Tomassetti 2 0-0 4, Cottrill 2 0-1 4. Totals 35 8-12 86.
BISHOP CARROLL (84): Ranck 11 0-0 26, Martinazzi 11 2-2 28, Lee 8 0-0 16, Madonna 1 0-0 2, Maruca 1 2-2 4, Swatsworth 2 0-0 4, Suckinos 2 0-0 4. Totals 36 4-4 84.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Lincoln Park 22 26 16 22 - 86
Bishop Carroll 13 21 28 22 - 84
3-pointers: Lincoln Park 8 (Minnie 4, Rowan 3, Skovranko). Bishop Carroll 8 (Martinazzi 4, Ranck 4)
Records: Lincoln Park (22-6); Bishop Carroll (23-6)
Officials: Greg Sipos, Jim Racchini, Doug Steve