Lincoln Park sprints to PIAA final

Comes out blazing

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As it has been throughout this season, it was the same script, the same storyline for Lincoln Park. It raced to an insurmountable lead and cruised to what seemed like an effortless win.

The only difference this time was that it came against a team that was 28-0 and it earned the Leopards a trip to the PIAA championship.

Maverick Rowan poured in 32 points as Lincoln Park steamrolled to a 70-28 win against Bishop Carroll in a PIAA Class A semifinal at Hempfield.

Lincoln Park (29-1), which will play for the title for the third time in four years, will look to win its first championship when it faces Math, Civics & Sciences (15-14) -- the Philadelphia Public League champion -- at 2 p.m. Friday at Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. Math, Civics & Sciences beat previously undefeated St. John Neumann, 76-53, in the other semifinal.

Bishop Carroll had not lost a game, but Lincoln Park didn't seem to care. The 42-point victory fit in nicely with Lincoln Park's previous PIAA wins of 49, 53 and 28 points.

"We wanted to come out and we wanted to play hard," Rowan said. "We played hard and we won ... by a lot actually."

Lincoln Park didn't give Bishop Carroll much of a chance. The Leopards stomped on the Huskies at the start. Bishop Carroll missed its first 13 shots and fell behind, 15-0. The Huskies didn't get on the scoreboard until 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

"Anytime you go up, 15-0, that's like punching the other team in the gut," Lincoln Park coach Mark Javens said.

Meanwhile, Lincoln Park was busy letting Bishop Carroll get a firsthand look at the "Maverick Rowan Show." Rowan scored 10 points in the opening quarter, setting the tone for the remainder of the game.

Lincoln Park's lead grew to 21 points midway through the second quarter and the Leopards eventually took a 39-13 halftime lead. It snowballed from there.

Rowan, a Pitt recruit, was 10 of 18 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. He's averaging 30 points in Lincoln Park's eight postseason games.

"We feed off of him and he feeds off of us," teammate Elijah Minnie said. "Once he starts going, it's hard to stop Maverick Rowan."

Minnie was outstanding, as well, finishing with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocked shots.

It's the second consecutive season Lincoln Park eliminated Bishop Carroll from the PIAA playoffs. A year ago was much closer, with Lincoln Park prevailing, 86-84, in the quarterfinals. Lincoln Park then lost in the semifinals.

In the previous meeting, Bishop Carroll's Brandon Martinazzi and Marcus Lee combined to score 44 points. Tuesday, that number dropped to 16.

Martinazzi did not score until midway through the second quarter and finished with a team-high 10 points. Lee, a 6-foot-6 center, scored six points before fouling out in the third quarter.

"We didn't play our best game. We weren't even close," Martinazzi said.

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