New-look Crusaders fall in opener, 55-47
STEUBENVILLE — Tuscarawas Central Catholic built a double-digit halftime lead, then held on down the stretch to earn a 55-47 victory over Catholic Central Saturday night inside the Mickey Barber Gymnasium.
Down 17-13 after one, the Crusaders, making their debut under coach Don Ogden, closed to within two (19-17) thanks to a Luca Connor connection from behind the arc. The Saints, however, used baskets by Landon Potopsky and Jackson Triplett to finish the second quarter on an 11-2 scoring run.
Ogden’s crew turned up the defensive pressure in the third period and trailed 37-31 with eight minutes to play. Charles Miller, making his initial appearance in a Crusader uniform, sparked the hosts on both ends of the floor.
Central’s defense continued to sparkle in the fourth quarter. Another Connor swish from long range made it 50-45. Cole Maragos then delivered a steal, quickly dished the ball to Connor for an easy deuce, and the Saints led 50-47 with 1:14 remaining.
“In the second quarter, we really collapsed as far as our man to man defense went,” Ogden said. “We made some adjustments at the half and, to the credit of our guys, our defensive pressure put us back in the game.
“I think we played with a lot of desperation in the second half, and we emphasized if we can do that for four quarters, we are going to have some happier outcomes than we had tonight.”
After that, the Crusaders were forced to foul, and the Saints made them pay, as they made five-straight from the charity stripe. During the fourth, T.C.C. was 12 of 17 from the line.
“What we lacked in focus during the first half, we made up for in the second half,” Ogden said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to overcome out deficit.
“For most of the fourth quarter, we had to take chances defensively, and we put them on the line. To their credit, a good team makes you pay on the foul line, and they made us pay down the stretch.”
Connor started his senior season with a strong game for Central, netting a game-high 19 points. Miller added 11 and Maragos nine.
“The bottom line is we are trying to build a new program here and, I think overall, we saw a lot of good things,” Ogden said. “I believe we took a step forward tonight.
“Yes, we lost, but we did some things that are going to benefit us as we move through the season. I believe if we keep moving in that direction, it’s going to translate into some W’s.”
Three Saints finished with double digits and a fourth just missed. Ryan Dick led the way with 14, Potopsky added 12 and Adam DeCaminada 10. Toby Grossi tallied eight.
Freshman Anthony Venditti tossed down a game-high 13 points, as Catholic Central registered a 26-21 win in the junior varsity contest.
CCHS: Looks to give Ogden his first victory when it travels to Shadyside Tuesday. The Crusaders then will host Big Red on Friday.
Tusky Central Catholic 55, Catholic Central 47
T.C.C. 17-13-7-18 — 55
Central 13-6-12-16 — 47
TUSKY CENTRAL (1-0): Potopsky 5 1-3 12; Miller 0 5-8 5; DeCaminada 4 2-2 10; Dick 3 6-8 14; Renicker 0 0-0 0; Triplett 2 2-2 6; Grossi 4 0-0 8; Franzen 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 16-23 55.
CENTRAL (0-1): Rook 3 0-0 6; Connor 5 6-7 19; LeFever 1 0-1 2; Anderson 0 0-0 0; Hough 0 0-0 0; Miller 5 1-5 11; Maragos 4 1-2 9; Lesnefsky 0 0-0 0; Dorsey 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18 8-13 47.
3-POINT GOALS: Tusky Central 3 (Dick 2, Potopsky); Central 3 (Connor).