It wasn’t the cleanest effort Grand Island Central Catholic will turn in this season, but it was a win and it helped the Crusaders into the title game of its home holiday tournament.
GICC pulled away from Fullerton after a close first quarter in a 55-28 victory Friday evening at Central Catholic.
The Crusaders will play Gothenburg Saturday in the tournament final.
“I didn’t feel like mentally, we weren’t as good as we needed to be early in the game,” GICC head coach Tino Martinez said. “As the game wore on, we just weren’t executing defensively as far as details. We’re usually pretty good at that, tonight we weren’t.”
The team’s played an even first quarter with that good flow thanks to just two combined turnovers.
However, that flow was stymied for Fullerton in the second as the Warriors went cold from the field and didn’t find and complete the same easy looks against the GICC defense as they did in the early going.
The result was the Crusaders opening a commanding 27-15 halftime lead, holding Fullerton to just two points in the period.
Fullerton’s first-quarter success came with the help of three baskets at the rim for starting Warrior guard T.J. Dubas. Fullerton scored 15 points in the final three quarters after scoring 13 in the first.
“We didn’t execute defensively in terms of taking away tendencies,” Martinez said. “That Dubas kid is a really nice player from the high post, driving right. We let him do that. We lost vision a couple times early and lost our guy on back cuts. Later on, we still got hurt on some things, they just didn’t necessarily finish in there.”
Russell Martinez hit a 3-pointer on the Crusaders first possession of the second quarter. Peyton Kort added another 3-pointer before Elijah Pirnie scored under the basket on an assist from Jack Goering.
Pirnie’s bucket forced a Fullerton timeout with two minutes remaining in the half. The Warriors got their first points since late in the first in a layup from Cole Horacek with just 50 seconds remaining.
GICC stretched the lead back to double digits before the break with a free-throw from Jacob Herbek and a basket from Andrew Herbek.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Goering hit two 3-pointers and Jonah Bales scored on a rebound putback to put the Crusaders up 20 points.
Goering finished with a game-high 15 points on five made deep balls. He was one of 11 Crusaders to score in a game where the bench was able to get in and compete.
Dubas’ six points led the Warriors.
Coach Martinez said that he liked the team’s shots but would have liked to see better finishes inside the paint.
“It’s nice to have balance and it’s nice to have a guy like Jack. Once he gets going like that he’s tough to deal with,” he added “I feel for the most part that we’re pretty unselfish. Our guys take pride in moving the ball and finding the open man. There were just some defensive things I would have liked to be better at tonight.”
The Crusaders are winners of five straight heading into the title game against the Swedes. The Warriors will look to get back on track in the losers bracket game against Fillmore Central.
“We’re going to be dealing with a lot of size and experience as far as what they’re program has done in the last three or four years,” coach Martinez said. “They’re well coached. It’s a big challenge for us and we’re ready for it.”
Fullerton (6-2).....13 2 6 7-28
GICC (5-1)........15 12 13 15-55
F: Cole Horacek 1-3, 0-0, 2; James Lesiak 1-4, 0-0, 2, T.J. Dubas 3-5, 0-2, 6; Brent Wetovick 1-5. 0-0, 2; Riggs Patton 1-1, 0-0, 2; Brandon Rasmussen 1-10, 0-0, 2; Treden Gonsior 0-1, 0-0, 0; Ryan Hellbusch 2-3, 0-0, 4; Kyle Knopik 1-2, 0-0, 2; Isaac Gleason 2-4, 0-1, 5. Totals 13-38, 0-3, 28.
GICC: Jack Goering 5-10, 0-4, 15; Russell Martinez 2-5, 1-4, 6; Peyton Kort 1-5, 0-0, 3; Elijah Pirnie 3-6. 0-0, 6; Mayra Almayra 2-6, 0-0, 4; Kaden Cornelius 1-2, 0-0, 2; Andrew Herbek 3-6, 0-0, 7; Dylan Rasmussen 1-1, 0-0, 2; Jonah Bales 3-10, 1-2, 7; Jacob Herbek 1-5. 1-2, 3; Dominic Friesen 1-5, 0-0, 3; Totals 23-61, 3-12, 55.
3-point field goals—F 1-11 (Lesiak 0-1. Wetovick 0-2, Rasmussen 0-6, Gonsior 0-1, Gleason 1-1 ), GICC, 9-19 (Goering 5-6, Martinez 1-4, Kort 1-3, A. Herbek 1-1, Friesen 1-5). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—F 23 (Wetovick 7), GICC 38 (Bales 11). Assists—F 7 (Wetovick, Rasmussen 2), GICC 13 (Goering, Kort, A. Herbek 3). Turnovers—F 18, GICC 10. Technicals—None.
GICC girls 51, Fullerton 30
Sometimes you just have to find a groove.
That was the case for Grand Island Central Catholic Friday in its holiday tournament against Fullerton.
The Crusaders (3-3) topped the Warriors (1-7) 51-30, trading in a slow start for a dominating 22-0 run before the end of the first half.
“I wasn’t really happy with how they started the game. I wanted a little bit more intensity, a little bit more pressure and I feel like we got lost a little bit,” head coach Stacia Rice said. “We usually don’t start games like that. Once they got in the groove of things, I thought things went well and they ended up getting a pretty good lead.”
Fullerton’s 18 first-half turnovers, many of which were caused by the Crusader pressure, allowed GICC more opportunities and they made the Warriors pay.
The Crusaders started in a zone to account for Fullerton freshman Hanna Plumbtree’s 6-foot-2 frame, but quickly reverted back to a familiar man-to-man defense.
“Man is our go to. The girls know it better and I thought it worked for us,” Rice said.
GICC got contributions from six different players during its 22-0 run that started in the first water and ended when Stormy Herman made a free throw for Fullerton with 3:10 remaining in the first half.
The Crusaders had a 34-10 lead and four bench players on the floor by the end of the first half.
“The good things about these girls is it doesn’t matter who scores for us. You can even watch our bench, they’re just all really supportive of each other,” Rice said. “As a coach, I really appreciate that.”
GICC’s leading scorer Megan Woods finished with a game-high 23 points. Courtney Wilson added 13 points and four assists. Jenna Lowry consistently offered hustle plays and finished with six points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Starting guard Caitlyn Beed led Fullerton with 13 points and 13 rebounds. 11 of her points came in the second half. Plumbtree registered eight points.
The Crusaders will play Fillmore Central in the tourney title and Fullerton will take on Gothenburg.
“We’ve got to value the ball and take care of it. That’s an ongoing issue for us,” Rice said.
Fullerton (1-7).........8 2 12 9-31
GICC (3-3)..........18 16 9 7-50
F: Caitlyn Beed 5-14, 3-5, 13; Kenna Swertzic 0-6, 0-0, 0; Taylor Swertzic 1-5, 0-0, 0; Stormy Herman 0-2, 2-4, 2; Katelyn Warner 2-5, 0-0, 4; Hanna Plumbtree 3-6, 2-2 8; Shaylee Horacek 1-4, 0-0, 2. Totals 10-41, 7-11, 31
GICC: Molli Turek 0-2, 0-0, 0; Courtney Wilson 5-13, 3-4, 13; Lexie Kohmetscher 1-4, 0-0, 2; Avery Kalvoda 0-2, 0-0, 0; Jenna Lowry 2-6, 2-2, 6; Katie Maser 1-5, 0-0, 2; Grace Tynan 0-5, 0-1, 0; Shayla Steenson 1-8, 2-2, 4; Elli Steenson 0-1, 0-0, 0; Megan Woods 8-15, 7-8, 23. Totals 18-60, 14-17, 50.
3-point field goals—F 0-1 (Warner 0-1), GICC, 0-3 (Turek 0-1, Wilson 0-1, Maser 0-1). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—F 33 (Beed 13), GICC 37 (Lowry 10). Assists—F 2 (Warner, Horacek 1), GICC 15 (Lowry 5). Turnovers—F 29, GICC 18. Technicals—None.