|
|
The Suburbanite
  • St. Thomas Aquinas sets defense mark vs. Central

  • The St. Thomas Aquinas Knights set a single-game record for points allowed in their win over Central Catholic.

    • email print
  • Matt Hackenberg wants his high school basketball players to go down in history.
    You can stamp the 2012-13 St. Thomas Aquinas Knights in the record book. They made history Friday night, setting a single-game record for fewest points allowed in their 42-29 win over Central Catholic at Walsh University.
    The old record of 30 points was set against Beachwood in 1995 and Northwestern in 2009.
    The Knights also completed a season sweep of the rival Crusaders.
    Aquinas flirted with the record a couple of times this season. Holding the Crusaders to just three free throws in the final 3:48 and 25.6 percent shooting (10 of 39) helped get the job done this time.
    “The last timeout I said ‘I want one more stop, let’s hold them to 29 and we’ll shoot our free throws. I want the record,’” Hackenberg said. “The kids wanted it too.”
    Junior forward Austin Hill scored a game-high 13 points as Aquinas (9-7) stopped a two-game losing streak. Central (4-9), meanwhile, was held under 30 points for the second straight game. The Crusaders also were held to 30 in a loss to Dover at the Mercy Medical Classic.
    “The biggest thing we’ve been struggling with is just putting the ball in the hoop,” Central head coach Joe Pellegrene said. “I thought we got some really good looks, but just couldn’t get them to fall.”
    Central was scoreless in the first quarter and trailed 8-0. Unlike Aquinas’ 71-38 win Dec. 28, the Crusaders were controlling the tempo.
    The Crusaders cut the Knights’ advantage to 15-12 at halftime and took a 17-16 lead on Justin Lyde’s jumper midway through the third quarter.
    The Knights also were struggling offensively and knew they were in a battle this time.
    “We had back doors, but they collapsed on us,” Hill said. “They had really good help defense and pretty good ball pressure most of the night.”
    Aquinas suddenly erupted late in the third quarter.
    Back-to-back layups from Will Burger closed out a 8-0 that gave the Knights a 24-17 lead. Threes from Hill and Anthony Moeglin early in the fourth quarter pushed the advantage out to 30-19.
    A 7-0 run gave the Crusaders hope, but the Knights pulled away late in the game. While many expected Aquinas to run the clock, Hill found himself open in the corner and buried a 3 with 1:10 left to give the Knights a 38-29 lead.
    “I love that spot right there,” Hill said. “... I was open, shot it and I finally made that.
    “Coach might have had a little word with me after, but it’s a good thing we made it.”
    Hackenberg was relieved.
    “I wasn’t exactly happy to see it go up,” he said. “I told him in the huddle ‘You’re glad you made that.’ ”
    Page 2 of 2 - CENTRAL GIRLS ROLL
    Katie Nixdorf scored a game-high 17 points to lead Central to a convincing 64-33 win over Aquinas in the girls game.
    The Crusaders (12-3) built a 19-9 after one quarter and were never threatened. They held an opponent under 35 points for the ninth time this season.
    “We’re working hard on the defensive end,” Central head coach Gary Isler said. “We think that’s the key to making a postseason run.
    “We have to shore up our defense. We’re mixing in some zone with our man. I thought tonight was a good step in that direction.”