Boys basketball: Catholic Central to face defending state champ in Sweet 16

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

SPRINGFIELD — The Catholic Central High School boys basketball team is one of 16 teams remaining in the Division IV state tournament.

The Irish (24-2) beat Jackson Center 47-36 last week to win their third district championship in five years and first since 2019.

“Even just getting to districts is quite an honor and not too many teams can do it,” said Irish coach John Detling. “I’m so proud of how they’ve done this year. Playing at UD, I thought maybe playing on the college floor would get to them, but obviously it didn’t. To be in the Sweet 16 out of more than (200 D-IV teams), it’s just absolutely an honor. It’s quite an amazing accomplishment so far.”

The Irish will now set their sights on advancing to a regional final game for the first time since 1997. They’ll face defending state champion Botkins (23-2) at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Trent Arena in Kettering.

“This group has had such high expectations from summer until now,” Detling said. “They’re just so focused. They believe that since they’ve come this far, they can compete with everybody.”

The Trojans have a big front line in brothers Carter and Jordan Pleiman, who both stand 6-foot-6. They’ve also got two guards -- seniors Jameson Meyer and Jaydon Wendel -- who can score from the outside.

“It’s going to take us being very disciplined, especially on defense,” Detling said. “We’ve watched so much film, hours and hours of breaking it down and showing it to the guys. … Ultimately, it’s going to come down defending their personnel. If we can do that well, we’ll be right there.”

The Irish are led by three seniors — Ian Galluch, Patrick Kavanagh and Ashton Young. Thos three played in the program’s last appearance at Trent Arena as freshmen. In 2019, the Irish fell to St. Henry 54-36.

Junior Tyler Galluch is averaging 17.5 points per game, but is averaging more than 20 per game in the postseason. Young (11.7 ppg), Ian Galluch (10.4) and junior Cole Ray (8.9) round out a balanced Irish attack.

“Different guys have stepped up at different times,” Detling said. “Anybody on any given night can go off for 20 (points).”

The winner of Tuesday’s game will advance to play either Tri-Village (21-3) or East Knox (20-6) in a D-IV regional final game at 7 p.m. Friday at Trent Arena.

The Irish have played a tough schedule this season, including victories over Springfield, Anna and Middletown Fenwick. They’ve also faced a tough path to the regional semifinals, Detling said, that’s prepared them for the regional tournament.

“I don’t think that there’s any fear in these guys,” he said. “We’re not looking ahead to anyone. It’s like, ‘Hey, who do we have next? Let’s prepare for them.”

He hopes the community will pack the stands in Trent Arena.

“We’re the only team to win a district championship and we’re the only team in Clark County that’s left playing,” Detling said. “Hopefully, the community shows up for us.”

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