Irish earn their first win of the season after trailing 10-2 in first quarter.
SPRINGFIELD — Catholic Central was resilient again on Friday night after another slow start. But unlike its first three games, the Fighting Irish were more than resilient — they were winners.
Catholic Central overcame a 10-2 first quarter deficit and beat Greeneview 36-33 in an Ohio Heritage Conference game to earn its first win of the season.
Ethan Bradds was on fire for Greeneview in the first quarter. He scored all ten of the Rams’ first quarter points on three 3-pointers and one foul shot. A three with 4:22 left in the first gave the Greeneview a 7-0 lead and forced a Central timeout. Central switched from a 2-3 zone to man-to-man defense in the timeout and held Bradds to 13 points the rest of the game.
Senior forward Timmy Weeks helped contain Bradds after the change. Greeneview had trouble getting the 6-5 center the ball after Central’s the defensive switch. Catholic Central head coach Mitch McCurdy attributed that to Weeks, who led the Irish with eight rebounds.
“We had seen (Bradds) and knew how good he was and talked about containing him,” McCurdy said. “We just thought we’d be able to do it with 2-3, but we had to switch up to man. Timmy’s a great defender, and we have to give him everything we can. He did great for us. You couldn’t ask for any more.”
It isn’t the first time the Irish have been in a hole this year. Central (1-3, 1-1 OHC) faced double-digit deficits against Kenton Ridge and Yellow Springs in its first two games but fought back down the stretch in each. They stormed back against the Rams on Friday, outscoring them 31-23 in the final three quarters.
“We’ve been (down early in games) before and I think we learned from it,” McCurdy said.
Thomas Kavanagh started the rally for Central. Kavanagh, a junior guard, hit a three late in the first to limit Greenview’s lead to 10-5. He scored another eight points in the second, including a three with 53 seconds left in the quarter which tied the game at 16-16 at halftime.
Five other players scored in the final two quarters to help complete the comeback. Zack Young scored the go-ahead points on a three-pointer with 2:36 left in the third. The Irish led by two points at the end of the third and started the fourth on a 6-2 run to increase their lead to eight with four minutes left. Kavanagh hit his final basket of the night midway through the fourth to stretch the lead to 29-23.
“I think our confidence helped us a lot,” Kavanagh said. “We’ve been struggling with confidence a lot. We were really pulling through as the game went on and got more confident. I feel the more confidence we have, the better we are.”
Greeneview fought back in the game’s final four minutes but missed too many shots down the stretch. Outside of Bradds, Greeneview’s other players shot a combined 3-of-13 from the field in the game.
Bradds himself missed a potential game-tying three with 2:45 left and missed a free-throw on a one-and-one attempt with 1:26 left when Greeneview trailed by four. He hit a shot with 40 seconds left to cut the deficit two points, but Young hit a shot seven seconds later to boost Central’s lead to four and secure the win.
“I wasn’t surprised that we were able to handle that pressure late,” McCurdy said. “The guys have handled pressure pretty well when we’ve gotten down. We work on that kind of stuff, and I expect them to do great things, and they did it there late.”
Bradds led all scorers with 23 points. Kollyn Brooks was the next highest scorer for Greeneview with five points. Austin Petry scored two points on free throws against Central after averaging 14 points in his first three games. The Rams shot 11-of-31 (35 percent) from the field in the game and were outrebounded 22-14.
Kavanagh led the Irish with 12. Weeks scored seven points, Young scored six and Dominic DeWitt scored five. Central shot 15-of-37 (40.5 percent) from the field.
The Irish will now try to carry Friday’s momentum to practice next week. They play again next Friday at Cedarville in OHC action.
“We’ve to keep driving, keep working and keep practicing,” Kavanagh said. “Each game we’re learning and we’re learning to play with each other a lot more.”
Greeneview (1-3, 1-1 OHC) returns to the court on Tuesday at Bethel.