Saturday, November 24, 2012

Great news as B-Ball season begins

Great news as B-Ball season begins!

Crusaders overcome preparation problems
CMH gains tourney title game


Catholic Memorial 71
Marquette 68

By Mark Hutchinson

Freeman Staff

MILWAUKEE – Dean Bellanti's high-speed blender poured out a season-opening victory Friday.

And it was a signature one.

The Catholic Memorial High School boys basketball coach had only three practices with his entire team before the debut because of the state playoff runs by the school's football and boys volleyball teams, both of which included basketball players.

The Crusaders apparently made the most of the preparation time they did have, though. They rallied
from an 18-9 deficit for a 71-68 triumph over Milwaukee Marquette in a Hank Raymonds Holiday Classic semifinal at Pius XI High School. They will face Pius, a 59-50 winner over Oconomowoc, in the championship game at 8 p.m. today.

"We played sloppy," said senior guard Ty Sabin, one of the regulars at practice. "But at the end of the day, it was all good because we got the 'W.' And it's always good to beat Marquette, because that program has such a rich history." Bellanti said establishing practice continuity has been difficult.

"We had two starters who essentially didn't get into practice until Monday," the coach said. "There are only 14 schools in the state that could have been in that position. We also had our
volleyball team at state and those guys were out for a week.

"It's been hard to get all the kids on one page. We've tried to keep things simple, and that showed out there because there were some things that we weren't as prepared for as we will be."

CMH ran off nine straight points in the second quarter to pull even. Senior forward Andre Bodden, one of the members of the Crusaders' state championship football team, fueled the surge with three baskets.

"Andre had separated a shoulder and was going to take a few weeks off," Bellanti said. "But he came to me the other day and said he wanted to play. The doctor said to let him go if his range of motion was good."

The Crusaders rode the momentum swing to a 30-29 halftime lead, which they extended to 55-45 through three quarters. Senior swingman Jake Giffhorn scored nine points in the third period, while senior forward Sam Browning and senior guard Ayinde Starling added five apiece.

"We just came out and said we needed to pick it up, hustle and get rebounds, and our good defense led to good offense and put points on the board," Giffhorn said. "We had some good practices, but there were always parts missing. We finally got everyone together and we had a good week."

Sabin credited the Crusaders' defense for the turnaround.

"We played better defense in the second half and were able to run,"
he said. "When we do that, we're a tough team to beat."

Marquette junior reserve swingman Quin Rowen scored seven of his game-high 17 points in the fourth period, and junior guard Jack Barbera, another reserve, added five. But the closest the Hilltoppers came was the final margin of three points.

Sabin, Starling, Bodden and Giffhorn each scored 13 points, and Browning contributed seven.

"I felt very stressed over the last week – did I get enough in? Did they understand it?" Bellanti said. "So overall, having Marquette jump out on us and impose their will, and then seeing our guys respond to that, was certainly a positive."


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