Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting on track...

from today's Waukesha Freeman --


A first for CMH
After losing opening five games, Crusaders shoot well in overtime
By Chris Patterson Freeman Correspondent

WAUKESHA – Coach Dean Bellanti has been waiting all season for his Catholic Memorial High School boys basketball team to put together four solid quarters. On Friday against Waukesha North, the Crusaders gave him five. As a result, the defending WIAA Division 2 state champions were finally able to celebrate their first victory of the 2010-11 season – a 57-49 overtime decision in a Classic 8 contest at North.

“All year we’ve been putting together two quarters here and 2 1/2 quarters there, but tonight we played four quarters of basketball and then some,” Bellanti said. “We competed hard all night long. “We’ve had some opportunities this season, but we’ve just squandered them. Tonight, we were finally able to finish.”

The Crusaders, 1-2 in conference and 1-5 overall, outscored North 15-7 in the overtime and were nearly perfect in doing so – going 4 of 5 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line in the extra session. Sophomore forward Andre Bodden, who had scored just 18 points total in Memorial’s first five games, went off for a game-high 18 points – including six points in the overtime on three strong drives to the basket. Bodden also finished with a team-high eight rebounds.

“As a team we just did well getting in the post and driving to the hoop hard,” Bodden said. “We also passed the ball around real well and that led to a lot of open shots. “We really wanted to slow things down and not rush things. We just wanted to play as a team and wanted to execute.”

In their first five games, the Crusaders had spent much of their time on the perimeter – evident by the fact that in those five games, Memorial had as many made 3-pointers (30) as they had made free throws (30). After shooting just 50 percent from the free-throw line in the first five games, Memorial made 11 of 14 foul shots against North – including just the one miss in overtime.

Memorial senior guard Alex Brogge, who finished with 13 points, was 6 for 6 from the free-throw line in the extra period and also made a key assist to Bodden that put the Crusaders comfortably ahead 50-45 with 1:27 to play in the overtime. The Crusaders have started games strong all season and turned in their fourth consecutive “winning” first quarter on Friday – outscoring the Northstars 15-8 in the opening period.

Memorial connected on six of its first seven shots and got baskets from four different players to grab a 13-6 advantage just five minutes into the contest. It was a disappointing start for North coach John Ricciardi, whose squad fell to 1-2 in conference and 2-4 overall. “I was worried right from the get-go because I knew they were going to come out with incredible intensity because this was a huge game for them,” Ricciardi said. “I just didn’t think we matched that intensity in the first quarter, especially defensively.

“There’s nothing you can really do when you miss bunnies and wide open shots on offense, but defensively I thought we were just out of it early.” The missed “bunnies and wide open shots” that Ricciardi referred to resulted in the Northstars going 8 of 22 from the field in the first half, including just 1 of 8 from 3-point range “At halftime, we told them they were getting good shots and there even some wide open 3s,” Ricciardi said. “We’ve got some good shooters and those are usually great shots for us, but sometimes that’s how it goes.”

However, Memorial went just 3 of 10 from the field in the second quarter, allowing North to close to within 23-19 by halftime. With Memorial clinging to a 23-22 advantage early in the third quarter, Bodden went off for six points in a span of just 1:51 thanks to two power layups and two free throws, helping the Crusaders grab a 32-24 lead with 3:05 to play in the third quarter.

However, when the Crusaders were held scoreless for a stretch of 5:09 between the third and fourth quarters, North fought its way back to take a 36-34 lead with 6:52 remaining in regulation. Both teams exchanged small runs in the final minutes of the fourth quarter – Memorial an 8-2 run to take a 42-38 lead with 1:55 to play and North a 4-0 run to close out regulation and force the overtime.

North made only 1 of 5 shots in the extra period – getting its only basket on a nearly uncontested layup with only eight seconds to play. Senior guard Evan Carney and junior forward Jake Ricciardi both scored 13 points to pace the Northstars. “This is definitely a big shot in the arm for the kids,” Bellanti said.

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