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West Lafayette Goes Outside to foil Central Catholic's strategy

November 29, 2012
West Lafayette Jr.-Sr. High School

Central Catholic’s boys basketball team planned to contain West Lafayette post players Justus Stanback and Brian Bangs in a J&C Hoops Classic opening-round game on Monday.

However, that plan only worked if the Knights also held Tory Eger in check on the perimeter. That’s where the plan broke down.

Eger hit four second-quarter 3-pointers to fuel a big West Lafayette run, and the Red Devils defeated Class A No. 6 Central Catholic 51-41 at Crawley Center.

“That’s mainly my role; I’m the shooter,” said Eger, who did not make another field goal after that barrage but finished with 16 points.

“It really helps with our bigs, Justus and Brian. They do that zone to try to get them not to score, and also with Caleb (Shinn) being like 6-3 and a good offensive rebounder. It really helps to have me out there to spread out the zone.”

Central Catholic opened the game in a 2-3 zone and mixed in some man-to-man. While it limited Bangs and Stanback early, the game began to turn when Eger hit a 3 off an inbounds pass early in the second quarter.

The senior guard hit three more in a two minute, 40 second span, sparking a 17-1 Red Devils run to a 30-16 halftime lead.

“First quarter was exactly what we wanted to do,” said CC guard Cowan Olinger, who scored a game-high 20 points. “We wanted to give them the first punch, and that’s what we did. We came out, played well and played hard. But that second quarter we just let up, and we can’t have that.”

Five members of CC’s state championship football team cannot play until Saturday. IHSAA rules mandate players moving from one season to another participate in five practices prior to competition.

West Lafayette could pay a little extra attention to Jake Churchill, CC’s leading returning scorer, and held him to three points.

At Saturday’s practice, CC coach Dave Barrett casually suggested that Olinger score 20 against West Lafayette. The senior responded with a career high, including 15 in the second half that nearly rallied the Knights.

Olinger converted an and-one layup for three points early in the second half, and another layup with 5:22 left cut the West Lafayette lead to 40-36. That was the Knights’ last field goal until the final six seconds, while Carlisle and Eger helped West Side close out the victory at the free throw line.

“Cowan’s a fighter,” Barrett said. “He wants to win as bad as anybody and he’s going to go out there and play has hard as he can and aggressive as he can. He went out tonight and proved he belongs on the court. He’s going to help us this year and that just makes us deeper than we’ve ever been.”

Nai Carlisle added 11 points and three assists for West Lafayette (2-0), with Bangs and Stanback combining for 18 points and 13 rebounds. Though not satisfied with his team’s ball movement and defense over the balance of the game, Red Devils coach Dave Wood said the best examples of both came in that crucial second quarter.

“The ball moved, people moved, we shared the ball and we got a shot that we can make,” Wood said. “Before that, after that, I thought our shot selection was very mediocre. CC did a lot of really good things and we were lucky to win.”

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