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Crusaders conclude regular season on top

Smart play, paint domination lifts Central over Barnesville, 64-62

THROUGH HEAVY TRAFFIC — Catholic Central’s Toby Lesnefsky is fouled by Barnesville’s Jeremy Hinkler on a layup attempt during Friday night’s contest. Also shown is Central’s Isaac Hough. - Joe Catullo

STEUBENVILLE — Following one of its most heartbreaking defeats of the season Wednesday night, Catholic Central knew what it had to do Friday with the game on the line against visiting Barnesville.

The Crusaders blew a fourth-quarter lead against Buckeye Local Wednesday, allowing 28 points and falling by two. Two nights later, they were very conservative in the final frame, took a lot of time off the clock and made just enough plays to hang on for a 64-62 victory.

“What we stressed on offense, we have the type of offense that can take time off the clock. More than that, we emphasized that we’re only going to shoot a layup or a high-percentage shot. If we didn’t have it, then we kept working the ball,” Central head coach Don Ogden said.

The Crusaders (12-9) led, 58-51, after three quarters and 62-59 with less than a minute remaining following a 3-pointer by Barnesville’s Haiden Skinner.

The Shamrocks (6-15) then missed a game-tying 3 with 45.6 seconds left from Colton Hines. Central’s Vince Carapellotti was fouled with 34.3 seconds showing and hit both free throws, increasing the lead to 64-59.

During the next possession, the Shamrocks were patient and got their look with 13.8 seconds showing when Jeremy Hinkler hit a layup and completed the old-fashioned 3-pointer on the and-1.

Right before that, Central’s Charles Miller collected a steal but could not finish on the other end, keeping Barnesville in striking distance.

Central’s Ryan Gorman went to the line with 10.5 seconds left but missed the front end of the 1-and-1, leaving the score at 64-62.

Barnesville’s saving grace all game long was shooting from beyond the arc, making 14 overall. It had a play set up to go for the game-winning shot.

“We had a guy in the (right) corner, and we knew they would overplay that. We had another guy in the other corner, but the ball just got away from us on the pass,” Barnesville head coach John Hines said. “We had the 3-pointer (at the top of the key), and that’s what they play was. The pass got away from him because we knew they would overload it.

“That fourth quarter didn’t represent any other part of the game. The rest of the game was back and forth and up and down. They were just trying to hold on to it and made some plays down the stretch. We didn’t have the ball bounce our way a couple of times.”

Colton Hines instead opted for a runner at the free-throw line but could not find the bottom of the net. Carapellotti secured the rebound as the final buzzer sounded off.

“I think they made 19 (3-pointers) when we played them down there (a double overtime defeat in early January),” Ogden said. “They’re a great shooting team. If you let them get their feet set and let them get into their rhythm, they’re going to make you pay.

“We played a really conservative defense in the first quarter. They made us pay for it, so we had a lot of ground to make up.”

The Shamrocks nailed seven first-quarter 3s — three from Evan Hudson — en route to a 23-13 advantage heading in the second. They later led, 26-15, before the Crusaders bolted on a 17-4 scoring run for a 32-30 lead, then 41-35 at halftime.

“We started running some set plays that we’ve had all year that didn’t always work throughout. (Friday), a lot of them did work. That contributed to a lot of our scoring in the second quarter,” Ogden said.

Between the second and third quarters combined, Central scored 45 points and committed no turnovers (four in the other stanzas).

As always, Charles Miller paced the Crusaders with 19 points, three rebounds and six assists. Gorman produced 14 points, three boards and five dimes. Carapellotti had 10 points, six rebound and four assists, while Toby Lesnefsky added 11 points and two boards.

For Barnesville, Kasen Powell dropped a game-high 25 points with three rebounds. Hudson connected on five 3-point goals for 15 points and dished out four assists. Colton Hines tallied 11 points, three boards and six assists.

“I think that’s our seventh or eighth loss by three points or less. We’re running pretty lean right now because we have two starters out for the season. We’re a little depleted, but our kids just keep battling and stepping up,” coach Hines said. “We’ll shoot it well, especially if they want to zone us up.

“We just couldn’t get over the hump with that last shot. They took the lead, and that pressure got to us a little bit. The crowd, that was the loudest crowd we’ve been a part of. Hats off to them because they have a lot of seniors who are going to do great things in the future.”

TOURNAMENT TIME

Friday marked the regular season finales for both squads. Central now is focused on the Division IV East tournament where it is the 12th seed and travels to No. 6 Caldwell on Tuesday.

“Like I said before, we have a chip on our shoulders for being a low seed,” Ogden said. “Caldwell is a very good team, a good shooting team with good defense. They deserve the ranking they got because they’re a great team. Let’s see what happens.”

The Shamrocks, meanwhile, are seeded 16th in Division III East and heads to top-seeded Fort Frye on Tuesday.

No matter what transpires, both coaches are pleased they got to 21 times this season.

“That was the goal after our first quarantine. To heck with strategic scheduling,” Ogden said. “We wanted to get the kids close 22 games. We got 21, I’m satisfied and they got a season. It turned out to be a winning season, so that adds to it.”

JV ACTION

Barnesville ran away with a 42-29 victory in the jayvee contest. Taison Starr led the Shamrocks with 17 points, while Central’s Anthony Venditti scored a dozen.

Catholic Central 64, Barnesville 62

Barnesville 23 12 16 11 — 62

Central 13 28 17 6 — 64

BARNESVILLE (6-15): Edwards 0 0-0 0; Hines 4 0-0 11; Powell 10 1-2 25; Hudson 5 0-0 15; Skinner 2 0-0 6; Hinkler 2 1-2 5. TOTALS: 23, 2-4: 62.

CATHOLIC CENTRAL (12-9): Miller 8 0-0 19; Hough 1 0-0 2; Carapellotti 4 2-2 10; Gorman 5 2-4 14; Lesnefsky 4 3-5 11; Dorsey 2 0-0 4; Venditti 0 0-0 0; Harris 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 26, 7-11: 64.

3-POINT GOALS: Barnesville 14 (Hines 3, Powell 4, Hudson 5, Skinner 2); Catholic Central 5 (Miller 3, Gorman 2). REBOUNDS: Barnesville 15 (4 tied with 3 each); Catholic Central 19 (Carapellotti 6). ASSISTS: Barnesville 16 (Hines 6); Catholic Central 20 (Miller 6). TURNOVERS: Barnesville 8; Catholic Central 4.

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