O’HARA TWP — There was no huge momentum swing in Friday’s state playoff game between Mars and Hampton.
Just one team displaying its dominance over the other — for the fourth time this season.
The WPIAL-champion Planets featured three players scoring in double figures as Mars advanced to the second round of Class 5A play with a 68-47 defeat of the Talbots at Fox Chapel High School.
The lopsided win came despite the fact that practices have been pretty light for the Planets since winning the WPIAL crown March 2.
“We haven’t been going hard at all,” said Mars coach Rob Carmody. “We’re trying to build their stamina back up, so we’re being cautious with them. We are trying to figure out who is practicing and who is not.
“I think it showed,” he added of the sparse practice time. “We did not shoot well from the line (20-of-29) and got pretty lackadaisical on defense at times.”
The Planets were heavy favorites entering their fourth meeting with the rival Talbots. Mars won both meetings in the regular season, then dispatched Hampton 72-51 in the district quarterfinals.
“We told our players that we’re at the table, so we have to give it our best shot,” said Talbots’ coach Joe Lafko. “I’d say that our confidence level coming in was OK, but I didn’t like the way we played in the first half at all. We didn’t come out with the kind of energy we needed to have.”
Mars, led by Robby Carmody’s 16 points in the opening quarter, led 22-14 after the first period.
But he scored just two points in the second as teammates Cade Hetzler and Andrew Recchia combined to drop 15 and the Planets entered halftime with a 42-22 advantage.
Carmody finished with a game-high 25 points. Hetzler scored 16 and Recchia 13.
“We’re not Robby Carmody and four guys just standing around,” Rob Carmody said. “We are a very athletic team that is capable of beating you in different ways.”
Lafko said he was pleased with his team’s play in the second half, but the Talbots (11-14) never cut Mars’ lead to single digits.
Isaac DeGregorio led Hampton with 14 points.
The Planets (22-4) will face Trinity, which Mars defeated in the district semifinals last month, in Tuesday’s second round.