Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Moving on after Historic First Piaa Win, Mars Advances

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Moving on after Historic First Piaa Win, Mars Advances

Article excerpt

Mars has put together one of the best season's in program history.

The Fightin' Planets (25-2) earned the first PIAA playoff win in program history by defeating Somerset Area, 78-48, in the opening round of the state tournament last Friday at Central Cambria High School in Ebensburg.

Somerset was the District 5 champion while Mars entered the state tournament as the No. 5 team out of the WPIAL after winning two "play-in" games following a quarterfinal loss to Ambridge Area in the WPIAL tournament.

"It was a great win for our program because it's the first time we won a game in the state playoffs in school history," Mars coach Rob Carmody said. "We mentioned that to our kids. It's something to be really proud of, but at that point it's over."

Mars returned to action Tuesday night against WPIAL Class AAA runner-up Beaver Falls. The Planets pulled a mild upset by defeating the WPIAL runner-up Tigers, 69-66 in overtime, in a game played at Ambridge. John Castello led the Planets with 29 points.

Mars moves on to face Erie Cathedral Prep (21-6) tonight in the state quarterfinals.

"At this point with tournament basketball you don't have a lot of itme to sit around and celebrate unitl you're the last team in Hershey [for the PIAA championship]," Carmody said.

The Planets benefitted from the new play-in playoff format, which allows teams to decide their own fate on the court instead of sitting on the sidelines to watch how other games play out.

"I thought it was a great opportunity to get back to playing and giving ourselves an opportunity to advance. You know you're in a do- or-die situation, but that's what the playoffs are all about," Carmody said. "I think our guys handled it very well. In the past, if we lost that game we'd be sitting around for two weeks waiting to play. …

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