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Central Catholic speeds past Benton Central

February 16, 2012
Lafayette Central Catholic High School

OXFORD -- Central Catholic forced eight Benton Central turnovers in the first quarter to jump out to an early lead and cruise to a 66-48 Hoosier Conference road victory over the Bison on Friday.

The Knights' fourth consecutive victory pulls them within one game of .500 after a 1-6 start. Benton Central (4-7) dropped its second consecutive game since the Christmas break, both conference tilts.

"We knew you could throw Central Catholic's record out the door," said Benton Central coach Kyle Rule, whose team fell behind 12-0 five minutes into the first quarter. "We knew who their shooters were and who their drivers were, but stopping them is another story. We didn't take care of the ball and got off to a terrible start."

The Knights seemed to take advantage of nearly every Benton Central miscue. The Bison turned the ball over 11 times in the first half and Central Catholic scored 20 points off them to grab a 36-15 edge at halftime.

"We talked about trying to force turnovers right out of the gate to get them rattled, and I think picking up the intensity early in the game did it," said Central Catholic guard Jake Churchill, who scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in the first quarter. "I was getting some good passes from my teammates in rhythm and they got me open."

The Knights built an 18-4 lead after the first quarter and Danny Anthrop helped spark Central Catholic's second quarter by beating the Bison defense for easy baskets. Anthrop scored nine of his 17 points in the second as the Knights stretched their lead to 21 points.

"I thought Danny did a nice job at breaking their press," CC coach Dave Barrett said. "We did a nice job on the boards so they couldn't get any second chance opportunities. I thought we did a nice job on defense all night long."

The Bison were led by Eddie Hall and Brandon Rooze, who scored 11 points each. The Knights, though, managed to corral Benton Central's leading scorer, Jordan Johnson, much of the night. Johnson, who averages 13.2 points, ended the game with three points.

Despite the halftime lead, Barrett said he was leery because of Benton Central's ability to score from 3-point range to get back into games, like BC's overtime loss to West Lafayette in December. Barrett said he warned his team about letting up.

"We saw the West Lafayette tape and I told our guys that we can't allow that to happen in the second half," Barrett said. "I told them that we had to jump on them again in the third quarter and we did. We pushed the lead up and maintained it."

The backbreaker came in the form of three 3-pointers from Andrew Hubertz, who tallied 11 points. Anthrop and Churchill's ability to drive the ball into the paint often left Hubertz open on the wing for the long-range shots.

Hubertz's third 3-pointer of the quarter gave the Knights their largest lead at 52-27.

"I guess I hit them when they counted," Hubertz said. "They started paying a lot of attention to Jake since he had such a great first half. It left me open and I was able to hit a few. Coach emphasized defense to start the second half and said someone needed to step up and get hot. I can usually get on a roll when I hit my first shot."

Rule said turnovers have been the Benton Central's bugaboo all season. While the Bison only turned the ball over five times in the second half, he said his team has to figure out a way to fix its turnover problem quicker.

"You just can't emulate Central Catholic's speed and pressure," Rule said. "It was something that we worked on all week. It's something that we will have to continue to work on until we're able to handle that kind of pressure."

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