Bishop McCort boys basketball coach Pat Hollern expects to encounter an uptempo pace and pressure defense tonight when the District 6 Class AA champion Crushers play the District 7 (WPIAL) seventh-place team, Monessen.

The game tips off at 7 p.m. at Central Cambria High School.

“Monessen is very athletic, very quick,” said Hollern, whose team defeated top-seeded Tyrone 62-46 on Saturday in the 6-AA title game. “They utilize full-court pressure. Tim Tyree, their point guard, is averaging about 18 points a game. From what we’ve seen and what we’ve heard they base everything off of their full-court pressure and try to dictate the tempo of the game.”

Bishop McCort (20-5) will rely on senior playmaker Matt Varga. Seniors Zak Boyd and Michael Cruz, and juniors Zach Freeman and Jack Schrey had key roles in the district title game.

“Matt Varga will be matched up against Tyree,” Hollern said. “The goal for Matt is just to try to keep him in front of him and not allow this kid to get into the paint and get their offense going. If we have to play a little bit of zone, we’ll adjust.”

Monessen (19-6) hasn’t played since a 60-48 upset WPIAL loss to Bishop Canevin on Feb. 16. In addition to Tyree, the Greyhounds rely on juniors Delmar Pritchett and Kevin Parker, sophomore David Jeffries and freshman Terrance Stepoli.

“Obviously they’re a pretty good team. They won that district,” veteran Monessen coach Joe Salvino said of Bishop McCort. “They have some pretty good ballplayers in Varga, and they’ve got a kid, Cruz, who’s going to play football at Pitt, so I’m sure he’s a force inside. The Freeman kid hit a couple key baskets against Tryone to win the district.”

Salvino said he’s used different approaches to keep his players primed for the playoffs during the long layoff.

“I try to do different things at practice. I try to do a lot of drill work in the beginning,” Salvino said on Thursday. “Now, we’re into the preparation for Bishop McCort. Now, they’re a little more upbeat because we know we’re playing (today). After we lost in the WPIAL playoffs, the first day back the kids felt they could have played better. It took a bit of coaxing to get them back to the point where we’re still in the playoffs and we need to make things happen.”

Three Class A games involving area girls teams also will be played today:

District 5 champion Berlin Brothersvalley (21-7) will play District 7 fourth-place team Vincentian Academy (17-9) at 4 p.m. at Chestnut Ridge.

District 5 runner-up Shanksville (19-8) will play District 7 third-place Avonworth (14-10) at 4:30 p.m. at Plum High School.

District 6 third-place Ferndale (22-5) will play District 7 runner-up Monessen (26-1) at 4 p.m. at North Hills High School.

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