There are, believe it or not, several things that Carmichaels junior Brandon Lawless will not do during a basketball game.
He doesn’t keep stats.
He rarely officiates.
Other than an occasional suggestion, he doesn’t coach.
And that’s about where it stops; everything else is fair game, Mikes coach Don Williams said.
“We look to get the ball into his hands as much as possible,” Williams said. “He can shoot the three a little bit, and he has some length – he’s 6-3, 6-4. He can drive. He can get around you. When they put a big man on him, we bring him outside. He creates, dishes off for layups.
“All year, we’ve been moving him around, all over the floor.”
Certainly hasn’t affected Lawless’ stats or the Mikes’ success.
Lawless is averaging 21.4 points per game, fourth-most among the Observer-Reporter’s scoring leaders for boys basketball.
It’s been enough to help Carmichaels compile a 17-4 overall record, 7-3 in Section 3-A to tie Monessen for second place.
The Mikes secured the No. 8 seed in Class A at Tuesday’s WPIAL Basketball Tournament pairings meeting and will play No. 9 Wilkinsburg Tuesday, site and time to be determined.
Less than a minute into that one, after Lawless has seen how Wilkinsburg will defend him, he’ll know what part of his game to feature.
“It’s kind of fun because you get to play guard and underneath,” said Lawless, who even played point guard when the Mikes beat Monessen, 69-60, 10 days ago to avenge a 34-point loss from earlier this season.
“If I have a guard on me, I can go down and post him up. If I have a big guy on me, I can take him (to the hoop) or shoot.”
Charleroi looks to change tempo
After watching tape of Bishop Canevin, his team’s playoff opponent, Charleroi boys basketball coach Bill Wiltz knew there was at least one thing the Cougars will need to do: run.
The Crusaders play at a glacial pace compared to the up-and-down game that Charleroi prefers, averaging just 47.8 points per game – 14.3 less than Charleroi.
“We want to try and get the tempo up,” Wiltz said. “If we can do that, we’ll be in good shape. We don’t want to play in the half-court set for too long.”
Charleroi guard Jim Diaz twisted his ankle during a 71-66 victory over Section 5-AA champion California Feb. 8, rendering him a game-time decision.
Bishop Canevin (10-12), which beat only one playoff team in its seven section wins, is led by Jake Seligman, who’s averaging 15.8 points per game.
Playoff-bound Bulldogs bought it
Talk about a tough sell.
The Beth-Center boys basketball team had lost its past 25 section games and didn’t have its top two scorers from a season ago in Mike Knox and Josh Miller, but during a preseason meeting, Bulldogs coach Gary Amos told his players they’d make the playoffs.
He had to get laughed out of the room, right?
“That’s about it,” Amos joked. “I was confident because I knew what other teams had coming back. It took them a little time. We started off the season pretty well. We had a few wins early, and once we started winning some games, confidence grew as the season went on.
“They figured that we do have a chance to do something pretty special.”
Beth-Center (10-11), which won four of its first six, made the playoffs by tying Jefferson-Morgan for the No. 4 seed in Section 5-AA with a 6-8 record.
The Bulldogs, who had to beat Bentworth on the final night of the regular season to clinch its playoff berth, will play co-Section 1-AA champion Burrell (15-6) for the No. 7 seed on Saturday afternoon at West Allegheny.
Adam Walters leads Beth-Center at 11.6 points per game, while Zach Miller isn’t far behind at 11.0. Dean Holt averages close to nine points and 10 rebounds per game, Anthony Gilpin around nine per game, Amos said.
“Any given game, anybody can score for us now,” Amos said.
Swimmer’s daughter helps dynasty
A very loose local tie but interesting nonetheless: Veronica Burchill, the daughter of former Trinity and Washington & Jefferson College swimmer Bethany Ross, won an individual title and swam on three first-place relays to help Carmel High to its 27th consecutive Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) championship.
The 200-yard medley relay’s time of 1:41.17 was a national record, and the 400 free group’s time of 3:23.27 set a state mark.