By Matthew Digiacomo
January 16, 2013 7:00 a.m. MEADVILLE —
Grove City head coach Don Fee won his 400th victory just three days before Meadville’s Norm Price notched win No. 400 of his own. But Price was not about to let his longtime friend and rival get the best of him on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs overcame a slow start, kept it close (28-25) at the half and rolled to 54 second-half points to capture a 79-57 Region 5 win at the House of Thrills.
“That (the 400 wins) just goes to show that we are old,” said Price. “Don is a great coach and I have known him for years. His point guard was out with the flu, and I think that made a huge difference for us.”
It still took a full team effort for Meadville to pick up the win.
Fee had his Eagles take Zak Price, the leading scorer for the Bulldogs (10-2, 6-1 Region 5), out of the game. Price entered the contest averaging 22.9 points per game. He also led the ’Dogs in 3-point field goals with 31.
Grove City ran a box-and-1, with Foster Reznor on Price the entire time. For the most part, the strategy worked. Price was held to just six points and did not hit a 3-pointer.
“I was anticipating somebody trying to take Zak out,” said coach Price. “(Grove City) played a box-and-1. Any time a team gimmicks you, there are going to be a lot of shots for other guys. I don’t blame them for running a gimmick, because Zak has been shooting so well.”
A few problems still remained for the Eagles (4-10. 2-6), and they showed up big time in the second half.
Those issues were Donte Hollingsworth, Jason Clune, Trevor Clune and Malik Anderson. Hollingsworth went crazy with the ball in his hands, hitting a variety of tough jumpers and slashing layups, especially in the second half. And when the shot was not there, he found other players to do the scoring.
Most of the time, that was Jason and Trevor Clune. As the second half started, Trevor Clune scored twice on putbacks, knocked down a 3 and added a layup to spark an 11-3 run that saw Meadville take a 44-35 lead. As the third period wound down, Jason dropped in three buckets during an 8-2 run that saw that lead pushed to 58-45.
“The way young Jason Clune has been playing ...,” said coach Price. “And Trevor had a few shots go in and out.”
Hollingsworth added a bucket here and there. Then in the fourth, he scored six straight MASH points as the Bulldogs blew the game wide open. When the senior nailed his last bucket with 2:40 left, MASH led 79-53 and it was time to clear the benches.
“Donte had a great scoring night,” said Norm Price. “If they want to take one player out of the game, I feel real comfortable that we can spread the wealth around.”
As for Anderson, he did a little of everything.
The senior hit the boards hard and made several clutch baskets to halt runs. But his biggest contributions came on defense, where he pressured the Eagles’ ball handler into several key mistakes in the second half. Many of those mistakes led to easy transition points for the Bulldogs.
“Malik’s defensive pressure in the second half was key,” said coach Price. “We were kind of out of it at the half, and I think his pressure turned the game around. He also took the ball to the basket well. He and Faizon (McClure) have really been doing a nice job of that.”
Hollingsworth finished with a game-high 24 points to lead the Bulldogs. The senior also had a team-best seven assists. Trevor Clune added 17 points and seven rebounds, while Jason Clune contributed 18 points and five boards. Anderson tallied seven points and six rebounds. McClure chipped in with seven points.
Derek Turner and Reznor dropped in 18 points each to pace the Eagles.