Boys basketball: Catholic Central edges Cedarville to reach D-IV district final

TROY — Tyler Galluch untucked his jersey and lifted his arms straight into the air as his teammates rushed the court in celebration — the Irish had punched their ticket to University of Dayton Arena for the second straight season.

The Catholic Central High School senior scored 26 of his game-high 30 points in the second half as the Irish overcame a seven-point third quarter deficit to beat rival Cedarville 48-43 in a Division VI district semifinal thriller on Saturday night at Troy High School.

“It feels good,” Galluch said. “I feel like a lot of people didn’t expect us to be here and get to this game and win this game. It definitely feels great to prove a lot of people wrong. It was a great team win.”

ExplorePHOTOS: Catholic Central vs. Cedarville

Galluch’s layup and free throw with 15 seconds remaining gave the Irish a four-point lead, sealing Catholic Central’s trip back to a district final game.

“I was just trying to clear my mind and just try to not think about it,” Galluch said of the game-sealing free throw.

“Big shots are made by big players,” said Irish coach Matt Mullen, “and that happened tonight.”

The Irish improved to 17-8 and advanced to face Russia (22-3) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at UD Arena.

Cedarville junior Tyler Cross scored 11 points as the Indians finished their season 20-5.

“We told our guys we’re super proud of their effort and determination,” said Cedarville coach Ryan Godlove. “We didn’t feel like we lost because of hustle or anything like that. We’re just super proud of our guys and the effort they gave tonight. We just came out short. They hit some tough shots. We felt like we made everything tough on them.”

The teams traded the lead back-and-forth in the first half until Cedarville went on a 6-0 run capped by a layup by junior Mason Johnson with a minute remaining to give the Indians a 19-14 lead at the half.

Cedarville held Galluch to four points in the first half by keeping the ball out of his hands. In the second half, the Irish moved Galluch to point guard, spreading the floor to give him room to work.

The Indians took a 23-16 lead early in the third quarter on two free throws by senior Drew Koning. The Irish responded with a 16-7 run, capturing the lead at 32-30 on seven straight points by Galluch.

“I think it was just being more aggressive,” he said. “They were trying to not let me touch the ball on the wing in the first half. We made an adjustment to put me at point guard and make plays from there. It ended up working out, being more aggressive and getting to the rim.”

A layup by Cross tied the score at 32 heading into the fourth quarter. With three minutes remaining, Cedarville junior Braden Criswell nailed a 3-pointer to give the Indians a 41-39 lead.

A few minutes later, Irish senior Ian Roediger’s blocked shot found its way into the hands of Galluch, who dunked the ball in transition to tie the score at 41.

On its next possession, Galluch went to the free throw line, but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Irish freshman Keegan Guenther grabbed the rebound and passed it back to Galluch to keep the possession alive.

The senior followed with a 3-point play with a minute remaining to give Catholic Central a 44-41 lead.

A layup by Koning cut the deficit to 44-43, but they wouldn’t get any closer.

“We missed a lot of shots,” Godlove said. “We’ve been a great shooting team all year. They made things tough on us and that’s part of the reason why we missed, but we also missed some that we usually make, it just didn’t work out for us tonight.”

Mullen also credited senior Cole Ray for his defensive effort against Koning, who scored eight points in the game.

“He’s taken a backseat offensively the last month because he knew he had to handle the ball and guard the best player,” Mullen said. “He’s one of the biggest reasons we won this game tonight.”

The Indians will graduate four seniors who averaged 21 wins per season during their career.

“We’re going to miss those guys,” Godlove said. “They’ve been leaders for us. That’s going to be really hard to replace, just their leadership. … Hopefully our younger guys take note of how they lead and pick up where they left off.”

It was the 11th time Catholic Central and Cedarville have played over the last four years, including three straight district semifinal matchups.

“(Godlove) has a great program over there and Koning is one of the best players around,” Mullen said. “They’ve got a lot of good players. My hat’s off to them. They’ve had a great year. Tonight our guys were just able to make some shots down the stretch. It was a great team win.”

About the Author