POTTSTOWN >> Generally, Archbishop Wood boys’ basketball coach John Mosco doesn’t call a lot of early timeouts.
Thursday night, he felt the need to use one after his Vikings didn’t match the energy Mechanicsburg started the game with. At that point, the Vikings trailed, they’re weren’t getting after it on defense and Wildcats senior Cade Alioth was the hardest-working player on the floor.
The timeout worked as Wood turned it on and rolled to an 80-56 win in the second round of the PIAA 5A tournament.
“They got off the bus and wanted to play,” Mosco said of Mechanicsburg. “We didn’t look interested, which is why I called timeout and it’s not something I normally do. I just didn’t think the effort was there, then we settled in and started playing.”
The first thing Wood had to do was slow down Alioth, a bit undersized at 6-foot-5 but a guy that plays relentless and had a 20-point, 20-rebound effort in the first round. Despite standing five inches shorter than Wood starting center Seth Pinkney, Alioth drew a foul on the big man, then scored over him early in the game.
Pinkney adjusted over the course of the game, and he got some early help from Karrington Wallace and Julius Phillips. Phillips and Wallace, along with Shawn Thompson and Andrew Funk, came in off the bench to help Wood rediscover its desire to be in the game.
“We weren’t getting down and playing defense as best as we could,” Wood point guard Collin Gillespie said. “He called the timeout, told us to get our energy up and get in the game, because we weren’t really ready to play. We got our energy and once we got into the game, we were alright.”
Gillespie scored 24 points, punctuated by a one-handed flush off a steal in the third quarter, to lead another balanced Wood effort. Five Vikings scored in double figures, with Wallace and Ty Pickron each scoring 12, Matt Cerruti 11 and Funk 10.
Alioth scored 23 to lead Mechanicsburg, though seven came in the fourth quarter with Wood playing almost exclusively bench players. Regardless, his energy was the benchmark Wood needed to get to and the Vikings didn’t want him to keep hurting them either.
“He’s their main player, he gets after it and he’s pretty good,” Mosco said. “He kept turning off his left shoulder so we forced him to go to his right shoulder. We told Seth to stay big and let them shoot over him. They don’t get to play 6-(foot)-10 kids too much.”
Wood trailed 13-11 right around the midpoint of the first quarter before it took off. The Vikings closed the first quarter on a 16-2 run, a 3-pointer by Gillespie putting Wood in front 14-13 to start it off.
They never trailed again.
Funk beat the first quarter buzzer on a short jumper for a 27-15 lead, then the Vikings continued to pile on the hurt. Gillespie scored five and assisted the other three of an 8-0 spurt to start the second and scored the last five of the frame as Wood took a 52-26 lead into the break.
“We have big guys, scorers, people who can do everything for us,” Gillespie said. “It’s difficult for teams to match up with us, definitely. We’re nine guys deep.”
Wildcats coach Bob Strickler had nothing bad to say about his team’s effort. He knew what they were going up against.
“We were ready to go and then we hit that stretch, they shot 3s almost like they were lay-ups,” Strickler said. “They shot the ball extremely well.”
Wood’s lead was 70-39 at the end of three periods as the starters for Wood put their last marks on the game before they headed to the bench to start resting up for the next round. The Vikings will play either Spring Grove or East Stroudsburg North. That game was postponed to Friday due to excessive snowfall in the areas making up District 2, the home of East Strousburg North.
Wood’s quarterfinal will most likely be on Sunday.
As to which team the Vikings will see, they’ll take as they’ve taken every game this season. It’s them, an opponent and a court to play on, the rest really doesn’t have a big impact.
“We just have to keep running our stuff,” Gillespie said. “Earlier in the season when teams (tried to slow them down), we weren’t really getting any good looks on offense so it was tough for us to score the ball. As the season’s went along, we got better on offense and we got better moving the ball and running our offense.”
Archbishop Wood 80, Mechanicsburg 56
Mechanicsburg 15 9 15 17 – 56
Archbishop Wood 27 23 20 10 – 80
Mechanicsburg (57): Cade Alioth 10 3-5 23, Shane Homick 4 0-0 8, Kyle Scheib 3 1-2 8, Adam Laudenslager 1 0-0 2, Nathan Mayernick 3 1-2 8, Ty Deiter 1 0-0 3, Jason Koshinski 1 0-0 2, Paul Cavada 0 2-2 2. Nonscoring: Everett, Gelnett, Babcock, Brittain. Totals: 23 7-11 56.
Archbishop Wood (80): Collin Gillespie 8 5-8 24, Keith Otto 1 0-0 3, Ty Pickron 4 2-5 12, Seth Pinkney 1 1-2 3, Matt Cerruti 4 2-4 11, Andrew Funk 4 0-1 10, Karrington Wallace 6 0-0 12, Julius Phillips 2 0-0 4, Shawn Thompson 0 1-2 1. Nonscoring: Garland, Harrison, McNamee, Wade, Stock. Totals: 30 11-22 80.
3-pointers: M – Scheib, Mayernick, Deiter; AW – Gillespie 3, Pickron 2, Funk 2, Cerruti, Otto