Crusaders rely on defense for win over Wildcats
RICHMOND — More often than not this season, Catholic Central will foul a ton because of its pressure defense and even become erratic at certain points of any given contest.
Against Edison on Monday, that same defense was sound and played very smart throughout most of the night. They had to with the offense struggling.
The Crusaders forced 23 turnovers and only allowed one free-throw attempt (no shooting fouls) during their 44-26 victory.
“What we try to do is deny, and I thought we did a decent job at that. On the reverse to the corner, they took advantage of us there in the second half, though our defense was the key,” CCHS head coach Don Ogden said. “Coach (Nate) Moses made some adjustments, so we came out with another defense. We usually mug other teams, but we didn’t (Monday).”
The Crusaders (7-4) normally run a 3-2 zone and will switch it up from time to time. That zone forced four Wildcats (1-8) to pass back and forth beyond the arc and left a pair of defenders on Gage Cline in the paint.
“We were settling too much for the outside shot. I thought when we split the gaps and attacked the gaps in their zone, we got some good looks,” Moses said. “But, we have to find a way to score in the lane. We really, especially in the first half, were trying to get the ball in down low too much, and that led to a lot of turnovers.
“It’s always the same. Any time you turn the ball over that many times and give the other team more opportunities, they’re going to take advantage.”
Catholic Central came out of the gates decently strong offensively with a 12-2 advantage after one quarter, then 22-13 at halftime. Charles Miller, who torched Edison six days prior with 24 points, only had 10 overall Monday (five in each half). Limiting him was one reason the Wildcats played a solid defensive game that gave them a chance to hang around all night.
“When you go against a kid like Miller, that’s your No. 1 priority. You’re trying to take him out of the game. You’re never going to stop him, but if you hold him to 10 points, you give yourself the opportunity to win,” Moses said. “We were happy with our defensive effort, especially with how we’ve been playing over the past week or two. There were some things we didn’t well, but it is an improvement.”
To the Crusaders’ credit, they did get more consistent shooting from everybody else than usual. Andrew Dorsey led with 11 points and five rebounds. Anthony Venditti, starting at point guard for Ryan Gorman, had 10 points and three boards.
Gorman did not play for unspecified reasons.
“(Miller) was off. I’m not real sure if his legs are still with him or he wasn’t coming out of his shot with his normal explosion,” Ogden said. “Venditti hit some big 3s in the fourth, which was huge. We also had huge rebounds that were big at the end.”
Also for Catholic Central, Vince Carapellotti produced a pair of points, five rebounds and four assists. Overall, the Crusaders committed 10 turnovers, dished out 10 assists and pulled down 25 rebounds, five less than Edison.
“We did not come in with the emotional intensity that I would like, and that’s on me,” Ogden said. “Emotional intensity is not like a light bulb. You have to amp yourself up. You can’t turn it on in a moment’s notice.
“But, I also give a lot of credit to coach Moses. They played with some emotional intensity. They played smart. I got out-coached (Monday), and that happens sometimes. But, overall, a win’s a win.”
Arguably playing at Big Red and Malvern on Friday and Saturday, respectively, was another contributor.
For Edison, Owen Howell scored a game-high 12 points on four 3-pointers. He also tallied three assists. Cline was limited to six points but grabbed 12 boards. Brayden Moses contributed four points, three rebounds and three dimes. He was the lone Wildcat to shoot a free throw.
Edison won the jayvee contest, 35-30. Kaden Miller led the Wildcats with 11 points. For the Crusaders, Tyler Ialenti, Evan Long and Daniel Bolster scored six points apiece.
CCHS: Tentatively hosts Harrison Central today for its fourth game in the last five days.
“We’re arguably going up against the best player in the valley (Kobe Mitchell), and deservedly so,” Ogden said. “We have to realize it’s not just him. They’ll have four other guys on the court who also are pretty good.”
Edison: Tentatively hosts Monroe Central on Wednesday before playing on Friday and Saturday, as well.
Catholic Central 44, Edison 26
Central 12 10 9 13 — 44
Edison 2 11 4 9 — 26
CATHOLIC CENTRAL (7-4): Lesnefsky 2 0-0 4; Hough 2 0-0 4; Venditti 4 0-1 10; Miller 4 2-5 10; Carapellotti 0 2-2 2; Dorsey 4 0-0 11; Harris 1 1-1 3; Bolster 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17, 5-9: 44.
EDISON (1-8): McBane 0 0-0 0; Cline 3 0-0 6; Howell 4 0-0 12; Board 0 0-0 0; Moses 2 0-1 4; Miller 2 0-0 4; Wedlake 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 11, 0-1: 26.
3-POINT GOALS: Catholic Central 5 (Venditti 2, Dorsey 3); Edison 4 (Howell 4). REBOUNDS: Catholic Central 25 (Carapellotti 5, Dorsey 5); Edison 30 (Cline 12). ASSISTS: Catholic Central 10 (Carapellotti 4); Edison 7 (Howell 3, Moses 3). TURNOVERS: Catholic Central 10; Edison 23.