Boys Basketball: Irish make statement in key conference win over Greenon

Catholic Central High School junior Tyler Galluch shoots the ball over Greenon's Jaden Journell during their game on Tuesday night at Jason Collier Gymnasium in Springfield. Galluch scored 27 points as the Irish won 71-40. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

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Catholic Central High School junior Tyler Galluch shoots the ball over Greenon's Jaden Journell during their game on Tuesday night at Jason Collier Gymnasium in Springfield. Galluch scored 27 points as the Irish won 71-40. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

SPRINGFIELD — After dropping its first game at Cedarville last weekend, Ashton Young and his Catholic Central High School boys basketball teammates knew they needed a big performance in one of their most important games of the season.

On Tuesday night, the Division IV sixth-ranked Irish made an emphatic statement, beating Clark County rival Greenon 71-40 in a key Ohio Heritage Conference South Division game at Jason Collier Gymnasium.

“After we lost to Cedarville, we knew we needed a statement win and that’s exactly what we did tonight,” Young said.

Irish junior Tyler Galluch scored a game-high 27 points and Young added 15 as Catholic Central snapped the Knights’ 10-game winning streak.

Greenon senior Jaden Journell scored 11 points and senior Ryan Perdue added 10 as the Knights lost for the first time since Dec. 11.

With the victory, Catholic Central (17-1, 12-1) took a commanding two-game lead in the Ohio Heritage Conference South Division race over Greenon (13-4, 9-3) and Cedarville (14-4, 10-3) with three games to play.

“I told the guys yesterday that this was a must-win if we were going to be OHC South champs,” said Catholic Central coach John Detling.

The Irish jumped out to a 12-0 lead, holding the Knights scoreless for the first four minutes of the game. They led 16-5 after the first quarter and went on a 14-0 run in the second quarter, extending their lead to 30-5 with 3:30 remaining. The Irish led 38-13 at the half and cruised to a 35-point lead, initiating the running clock rule.

Greenon won two key conference games last weekend, including an overtime win against Cedarville on Saturday night, but weren’t able to recover from a big first-half deficit.

“We were playing from and started forcing some things a little bit,” said Knights coach Greg Kimball. “They just jumped right on us and we just never recovered. A lot of that credit goes to (Catholic Central) because they were so well prepared and so physical. They disrupt a lot of stuff. It’s disappointing, for sure.”

Catholic Central’s defense was stifling throughout the game, causing turnovers which led to easy points in transition. The Irish did their best to keep Greenon from hitting 3-pointers, Young said.

“We just stuck to the scouting report the whole time,” he said. “That was the only thing we said the entire game and it worked.”

The loss to Cedarville was a wake-up call that forced the Irish to refocus, Young said.

“It really woke us up,” he said.

The Irish quickly bounced back on Saturday night, beating Middletown Fenwick 45-40.

“It was huge,” Detling said. “It was kind of the turning point of the guys saying that they needed to focus a little bit more and that things were maybe getting to their heads a little bit. I didn’t expect this tonight (against Greenon). … The bench came in and played great. We never had any drop off and everybody contributed to a big team win.”

The Irish host Southeastern on Friday with a chance to earn at least a share of their first OHC South title since winning back-to-back division championships in 2018 and 2019. Detling has said all season that the Irish must prepare to take everyone’s best shot, especially in the tough OHC South.

“In the locker room after the game, (Irish senior) Patrick Kavanagh said that’s how we have to play the rest of the season and I said, ‘Let’s do it’,” Detling said. “I thought our defense was unstoppable and played unbelievably great. The bench did a great job. There was no drop off. Everybody came in with energy. The crowd was awesome for our guys.”

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