SHARON — Robby Carmody had that “look” in his eyes.
His Mars boys basketball teammates know what that means.
Get the 6-foot-4 junior guard the ball.
And get out of the way.
“The first quarter he was just on fire,” said Mars guard Cade Hetzler. “We just knew he couldn’t be stopped. Just feed him.”
Carmody scored 11 points in the first quarter to get Mars on its way and finished with 45 points and 12 rebounds as the Planets beat Cathedral Prep Thursday 72-61 in the second round of the PIAA 5A playoffs at Sharon High School.
The win puts the Planets in the final eight in the state for the third year in a row.
This year may be a little more special because the program lost 12 seniors to graduation after last season and Carmody was the only player returning with varsity minutes under his belt.
“It was pretty much a complete turnover,” Carmody said. “Everyone has pretty much stepped up and really played above and beyond what they needed to do this year. That’s why we’re where we’re at right now.”
Carmody was left alone on the perimeter in the eight-plus minutes and made the Ramblers pay for playing a zone. Carmody hit all four of his 3s in that span.
Once Cathedral Prep abandoned that tactic, Carmody began going to the hoop and found just as much success.
He scored 10 in the second quarter, eight in the third and 16 in the fourth for the Planets.
He was also 12-of-12 from the free throw line in the second half and shot 58 percent from the field.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them tonight,” Carmody said of his teammates. “They got me the ball in the right spots. They kept feeding me because I was hot. That’s what good teams do. They keep feeding the guy with the hot hand.”
Cathedral Prep (14-13), though, wouldn’t go quietly.
Mars led 31-23 at the half and led by as many as 16 early in the fourth quarter, but the Ramblers closed to within six midway through the quarter.
The Planets (17-9), however, never let Prep get any closer.
“It wasn’t Robby always hitting the shot in that situation. That’s what I love about that,” said Mars coach Rob Carmody. “Ben (Perdziola) had a big shot. Cade (Hetzler) hit a big shot. Ben Lewis had a huge 3. Andrew (Rechhia) had a big shot. It was a different guy each time.”
Jaryn Simpson led Cathedral Prep with 23 points. He was 13-of-14 from the free throw line.
Rechhia added nine points, Perdziola eight and Lewis seven for the Planets, who will move on to face District 10 champion Meadville Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
“We’re in the final eight in the state,” Rob Carmody said. “That means something. We’re so proud of that. Just a few years ago, Mars had never won a playoff game. Now we have 10 in three years. That’s the legacy that’s here. It’s not points. It’s not rebounds.
“Robby has been a part of 66 wins in three years,” the coach added. “That’s what you measure yourself by.”
CATHEDRAL PREP 61
Jaryn Simpson 5-12 13-14 23, Aaron McBride 1-2 0-0 3, Adam Upperman 6-12 2-2 15, Bruce Fagan 0-2 0-0 0, Joe Mischler 2-8 0-0 6, Thomas Russo 3-6 2-2 8, Mark Majewski 2-5 0-0 6, Tyler Oedekoven 0-0 0-0 0, Henry Fessler 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Douds 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-47 17-18 61.
Cade Hetzler 1-4 1-2 3, Andrew Recchia 3-5 1-2 9, Robby Carmody 14-24 13-15 45, Ben Lewis 2-6 1-2 7, Ben Perdziola 3-4 2-2 8, Michael Carmody 0-0 0-0 0, Max Chizmar 0-0 0-0 0, Jerry Stoddart 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-43 18-23 72.
Cathedral Prep 9 14 13 25 — 61
Mars16 15 18 23 — 72
3-point goals: Cathedral Prep 6 (McBride, Upperman, Mischler 2, Majewski 2); Mars 8 (Recchia 2, Carmody 4, Lewis 2)
Saturday: Mars vs. Meadville in PIAA 5A quarterfinals, site and time to be determined