Catholic Central, Southeastern ready for rematch

Catholic Central senior guard Thomas Kavanagh dribbles during a sectional tournament game against Twin Valley South on Wednesday. The Irish will play Southeastern in a sectional final on Saturday. Contributed Photo by Bryant Billing

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Catholic Central senior guard Thomas Kavanagh dribbles during a sectional tournament game against Twin Valley South on Wednesday. The Irish will play Southeastern in a sectional final on Saturday. Contributed Photo by Bryant Billing

Catholic Central senior center Cossy Catanzaro had flashbacks while sitting in the stands at Troy High School on Wednesday night as he watched Southeastern nail deep 3-pointer after deep 3-pointer during a 19-point win over Newton in a sectional tournament game.

That’s something the Irish can’t afford Saturday night against Southeastern in a Division IV sectional final at the Trojan Activities Center. It will be a rematch of a regular-season contest between the Ohio Heritage Conference schools. Southeastern won 65-55 on Jan. 13.

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“We have to make sure we stop that outside shot,” Catanzaro said. “They were on fire in the second quarter of their game today. We’ve got to stop that outside shot, box out and play our type of basketball.”

Central’s style features physical play and fast footwork on defense. The Irish forced Twin Valley South into 12 turnovers in the second half of a seven-point win Wednesday and also shot well from the field, particularly in the first half when they made 8-of-14 field-goal attempts.

That didn’t happen when Catholic Central faced Southeastern in OHC play. The Trojans made several key 3-pointers in the second half, which Catanzaro remembered while watching Wednesday’s game.

“We shot really bad from the field that game, and they shot fantastic from the field,” Catanzaro said.

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Southeastern (23-1) has hit plenty of outside shots this season. Andrew Lyons, a senior forward, leads the team with an average of 18.7 points per game and has proven just as capable of scoring from beyond the arc as in the post. Trevor King (16.6 points per game) shot 44.7 percent from 3-point range in the regular season, while Colton Spears (13 points) shot 34 percent.

Spears went over 1,000 career points in Wednesday’s tournament win and set a school record for most career 3-pointers earlier this season.

“All their players that come on the floor can shoot it,” Catholic Central coach Cody Sarensen said. “They can drive to the basket really well, and they play very well as a team. It’s going to come down to what we take pride in, which is getting those stops when they matter.”

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Though Southeastern is the top seed in the Troy sectional and went undefeated against OHC opponents in the regular season, Spears said the team is ready for a challenge from Central.

“I would say they maybe were the best team in the OHC that we played this year,” Spears said. “I think it will be a tough game because they match up well against us.”

Though the Irish (15-9) usually don’t feature many scorers in double figures, Southeastern coach Brian Hecker said Central makes up for any offensive gaps with defensive pressure and solid rebounding.

“They’re physical, and they defend very well,” Hecker said. “It’s going to be a battle.”

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