Brandon Martinazzi eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career, netting 20 points in Bishop Carroll’s 69-22 victory over Cambria Heights.
His teammate Marcus Lee scored 34 points and came within five points of reaching the milestone himself.
While the stage was set for Martinazzi’s milestone and ready for Lee to provide the encore, it was the Huskies’ defense that stole the show Wednesday night at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School.
Bishop Carroll (15-0) limited Cambria Heights to just six field goals with the Highlanders’ only bucket from inside the 3-point line coming in the fourth quarter on Patrick Huber’s lay-in.
Even when the Highlanders managed to break the Huskies’ press, Bishop Carroll (15-0) retreated in time to create chaos in the half-court by producing turnovers and forcing rushed shots from Cambria Heights (6-11).
“One of the things we talked about was we wanted to make sure that our transition defense was good,” Huskies coach Cosie Aliquo said. “Luckily, we got everybody back ... Even when we weren’t stealing, we were getting rushed shots and that’s as good as a steal.”
“Cosie teaches them well,” Cambria Heights coach Eric Nagle said. “They want to speed up play. If they don’t get (the turnover) the first time, they get it the second or third time. We had to attack a little bit better, which we didn’t do, but that’ll come.”
With the Huskies comfortably ahead in the third, Martinazzi, who needed 15 points heading into Wednesday, reached 1,000 career points when a layup with 5:45 remaining in the period gave Bishop Carroll a 51-17 lead and sent the host fans into a raucous ovation.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Martinazzi said. “It’s wonderful to do at home. My teammates did a great job tonight of coming out and playing hard. They did a great job of getting me the ball. I scored 1,000 points, a lot of it, I owe to them.”
Lee pushed himself into potentially bidding for the milestone himself thanks to a 25-point rampage in the first half that saw Cambria Heights’ defense sag into the key, allowing Lee to pick up multiple baskets from the right side of the free-throw line.
When possessing the basketball inside the key, Lee was just as dominant.
“They were sagging off on the man defense and that left Marcus to where we put him on one side with Brandon,” Aliquo said. “And that’s a pretty tough match-up. Because if you bite on Marcus, Brandon’s sitting there ready to shoot it. If you don’t, we’re going to the hole.”
Behind Lee’s 13 first-quarter points, Bishop Carroll raced out to a 23-9 lead and kept building in the second, using 12 more from Lee and eight from Martinazzi to spark the quarter’s output.
The Highlanders, after falling behind 10-0 to open, briefly rallied back behind a pair of 3-pointers from Josh Serafin and another trey from Nick Milanesi to cut the lead to 12-9. Lee produced the next five points before Martinazzi sandwiched a Mitchell Madonna jumper with two field goals of his own to open a 14-point lead.
“Coming in, we hadn’t practiced for two days (because of the weather),” Nagle said. “Off Monday. Off Tuesday. Definitely against a team this caliber, you knew it was going to be difficult. We didn’t attack the basket well, but they force you into that too. They speed up the play.”
After a Serafin 3-pointer in the second cut the Bishop Carroll lead to 27-12, the Huskies closed the half on a 18-5 run and maintained the momentum through the third, limiting the Highlanders to just a point while activating the running clock on a Martinazzi layup that made the score 57-17.
Shawn Curtis is the sports editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at @shawncurtis430.