Experienced Catholic Central off to perfect start

Catholic Central High School's Tyler Galluch shoots the ball over two Triad defenders during their game last season in North Lewisburg. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

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Catholic Central High School's Tyler Galluch shoots the ball over two Triad defenders during their game last season in North Lewisburg. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Irish 3-0 heading into Friday night’s game at Southeastern

SPRINGFIELD — The Catholic Central High School basketball team is on a mission this winter.

After finishing 17-6 last season, the Irish return all but one varsity player from last year’s team that finished runner-up in the Ohio Heritage Conference South Division to eventual Division IV regional finalist Cedarville.

Catholic Central is off to a 3-0 start, including a 54-49 Ohio Heritage Conference South Division win over Greenon on Tuesday night in Enon.

The hard work began in the summer where the Irish went 22-1 in shootout and summer league games, said Catholic Central third-year coach Jon Detling.

“I knew it was going to be a special season after seeing how hard they worked,” he said. “They were getting extra time in the gym. They’re texting me if they could get in the gym in the morning before I’d go to work. I knew that they wanted this more than anything. Ultimately, that’s how it has to be — they have to want it.”

The Irish opened the season with victories over rival Kenton Ridge and Cedarville. Greenon led the Irish 26-22 at halftime on Tuesday, but Catholic Central used a 22-9 edge in the third quarter to pull out the victory.

“There was never once that I could see the fear in their eyes,” Detling said. “In the years past, when we were down, we’d usually crumble. This group has so many guys back and is senior-heavy. We’ve been there. Last night was a prime example of never panicking.”

The Irish are seeking their first OHC South title since 2019. The goal, however, is simpler than that, Detling said — take it one game at a time.

“We know everyone that we’re facing, we’re going to get their best effort,” he said. “We have a huge target on our back. We have to play our best every game. We can’t think any game is going to be a freebie.”

The Irish are led by junior post Tyler Galluch, who is averaging an OHC-best 20.0 points per game. He’s also averaging 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. The junior, who was named first team All-OHC South last season, worked hard all summer on his jump shot to become a threat from both the post and the 3-point line, Detling said.

“You’ve got to respect every aspect of the kid’s’ game now,” he said.

Catholic Central has eight seniors:, including Ashton Young, Ian Galluch, Jack Bramel, Patrick Kavanagh, Tre King, Thomas Sheehan, Jaeden Threats and Tim Chu. Junior Cole Ray rounds out the varsity roster.

The maturity level has shown through three games, Detling said.

“These guys know how to get up for every game so far and being prepared, even in film (sessions), they’ve taken it up to another level,” he said.

Catholic Central also had success on the football field this fall, which Detling believes will carry over to the basketball court. Young was named the OHC South Offensive Player of the Year as the Irish went 9-3 and advanced to the Division VII regional playoffs. Kavanagh, Threats and King also played key roles on the Irish football team.

“They’ll carry it over knowing how they did and what it feels like to win,” Detling said.

The Irish have beefed up their schedule in hopes of making a deep run in the postseason. Catholic Central advanced to the regional semifinals in 2019, but the Irish have lost in a district semifinal game each of the past two seasons.

They’ll play nonconference games against Springfield, Anna, Middletown Fenwick and Troy Christian this season.

“Ultimately, you prepare for the tournament,” Detling said. “That’s kind of how you’re remembered. I wanted the guys to see the type of competition you get once you get to districts and regionals. I think that playing a tougher out of conference schedule helps to prepare for that.”

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