The Bishop Carroll boys won their eighth straight game on Friday night, defeating rival Penn Cambria on the road, to take over the top spot in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference Section 1 and raise their record to 11-2.
In addition to the win over the Panthers, the Huskies, a Class A school, have also racked up some other impressive wins thus far, including an 83-81 victory over District 7’s Vincentian Academy on Jan. 12 in Pittsburgh.
Sixth-year coach Cosie Aliquo emphasized at the beginning of the season that his team would have to focus on playing good defense in order to get the offense rolling. That seems to be working out for the Huskies.
Bishop Carroll, whose losses have come against Somerset (79-64) and Bishop McCort (67-64), has just two seniors on its roster.
The Huskies leading scorer is 5-foot-10 sophomore guard Brandon Martinazzi, who averages 17.6 points a game.
Junior Marcus Lee contributes 14.4 points and senior Scott Ranck, 12.7.
Junior Mark Madonna tops the team in assists (3.4 per game) and steals (3.3) while Lee, a 6-5 center, is the top rebounder (9.8).
Bishop Carroll lost to Northern Cambria, 57-56, in last year’s District 6-A title game then fell to District 9 Johnsonburg in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
The Huskies host North Star in a nonconference game tonight.
On Wednesday, Greater Johnstown will clash with the Huskies in Ebensburg before Carroll ends the week at Richland.
Another team that has won eight straight is Class AA Conemaugh Township (10-2) in the WestPAC North.
The four seniors on the Indians squad - Jeff Burns, Dillon Boyer, Jeremy Sotosky and Josh Burns - are the team’s top scorers.
Township (10-2) faces a major challenge tonight when they travel to face WestPAC South Division leader Shanksville-Stonycreek (11-1), which has won 10 straight and had its last loss against Somerset in December.
Stockenus goes above and beyond: Shanksville-Stonycreek’s Kayla Stockenus carved her name in the school’s record books Jan. 14.
The talented senior became the school's all-time leading scorer for girls basketball. Stockenus entered the night at rival Shade needing 16 points to surpass the previous mark of 1,724 set by current Somerset assistant coach Jill Stutzman in 1997. She finished with 24 points against the Panthers to make her mark, and continues to add to her totals, averaging 31.4 per game.
Stockenus, one of two seniors on the tiny seven-member squad, also leads the team in rebounds (6.6 per game), steals (5.5), assists (2.4) and blocks (1.7) for first-year Shanksville coach Corey Nau.
The Vikings’ senior topped the 1,000-point mark early last January.
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat.