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Central Catholic turns up defensive pressure, defeats Delphi

January 9, 2012
Lafayette Central Catholic High School

Central Catholic limited Delphi to one basket in the second quarter to change the momentum of a tight game, and the Knights scored a 64-44 boys basketball victory at McHale Gymnasium Friday night.

In earning their first Hoosier Conference win in three contests, the Knights captured their third straight victory after opening the season 1-6.

"We've finally had time to practice," Central Catholic coach Dave Barrett said. "We had a chance to rest, too.

"After the first quarter, we got after it on defense a little and we looked like the fresher team out there. They are definitely starting to get their basketball legs now and hopefully we can sustain this."

Facing a slightly taller Delphi team, led by 6-foot-7 Cole Murray, Central Catholic fell behind 20-16 in the first quarter. The Oracles made six 3-pointers in the opening eight minutes, and Murray hit three of those shots beyond the arc.

Murray led all scorers with 23 points.

But as hot as the Oracles were in the first quarter, the Knights cooled them off in the second quarter with the help of a swarming defense that allowed them to grab seemingly every loose ball and rebound.

Delphi turned the ball over four straight times to open the second quarter and went 1 of 7 from the field. Central Catholic's Jake Churchill scored eight of his team-high 22 points in that quarter to give the Knights a 28-22 lead at halftime.

Churchill and Andrew Hubertz both made three 3-point shots to lead the Knights. Hubertz contributed 12 points and four rebounds.

"We improved our help defense in the second quarter," Churchill said. "In the first quarter we weren't getting back to our guys. In the second quarter we picked up the intensity and got after it. We closed out well and played good team defense on everyone."

Oracles coach Michael Lewis said the missed opportunity in the first half was a learning experience for his young team.

"Good teams are consistent and have to play hungry every minute," Lewis said. "We have to learn that at the varsity level, every possession matters. That's something we're still trying to drill into these kids. We showed our youth in certain areas tonight and we have go get after it on every play."

Murray, who entered the game averaging 18.7 points, made five of the Oracles' 10 3-pointers.

"Our goal to start the game was to not let Murray catch the ball inside, so we had Danny Anthrop on him," Barrett said. "He's not as tall, so we were dropping down to give help and they knocked down some shots. We started getting out to the shooters quicker in the second quarter and had our hands in guys faces."

The back breaker came at the end of the third quarter. Trailing by as many as 14 points in the period, the Oracles cut the lead to 45-35 after a Codey Sattler basket with 38 seconds left.

As time ticked down, Central Catholic's Dalton Skees managed to wiggle his way into the paint for a short jumper with about five seconds left. Then Matt Burks intercepted a long Delphi pass near midcourt and heaved a shot that banked into the net at the buzzer, pushing the Knights' lead back up to 50-35.

"I told our team that to win games on the road, you have to start quarters well and you have to end them well," Lewis said. "That was an example of not ending a quarter well and they made a big run. A lot of credit has to go with the way they played defense tonight. That's something where we're still trying to find our identity."

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