David Doerflinger (2) takes the ball up court during Catholic Central’s WIAA Division 5 regional opener against visiting Elkhart Lake Tuesday (Mike Ramczyk/Standard Press).

Toppers roll in playoff opener behind Doerflinger, 10 first-half threes

By Mike Ramczyk

On Tuesday night in Burlington, visiting Elkhart Lake made the mistake of playing a 2-3 zone against second-seeded Catholic Central in a WIAA Division 5 boys basketball playoff opener.

Saying the Toppers made them pay would be a huge understatement.

Senior David Doerflinger made five of the Toppers’ whopping 10 first half 3-pointers, and Catholic Central rolled to a 70-24 victory to open up a promising postseason where the players are poised to make a deep run.

Catholic Central (15-8) will host No. 10 seed Sheboygan Christian Friday night at 7 p.m.

Doerflinger, who was a standout in football in the fall, doesn’t necessarily always light up the scoreboard on the basketball court.

But he was red-hot Tuesday, and he said after the game he thought his 19 points were a career high.

“I just got a little hot from outside,” Doerflinger said after the game. “Shooting was looking good this week, and I went into this game with a lot of confidence. It’s all about being confident in yourself and letting it fly.”

A little hot? A little hot?

Ever the humble person, Doerflinger said he thought he only hit four triples in the first half.

“Davey Doerflinger has the ability to get hot,” said Catholic Central head coach Kyle Scott. “When he gets hot, he gets really hot. When he makes one or two, he’ll make that many in a row.”

“It’s nice. The first part of the first half, our defense wasn’t where it needs to be. In the second part of the first half, we started to play better and kind of cruised.”

Bennett Wright added 11 points and five assists, while Brandon Pum pitched in 10 points.

For Wright, who was able to run the offense and get the ball to open shooters, it was a good warm-up game.

“The next couple rounds, it’s going to get more competitive, more talent will be thrown at us,” Wright said. “It’s good to get a win, but we have to come back to practice tomorrow and get better.”

“We were able to get touches inside and work inside-outside tonight. We shot well as a group.”

The Toppers made 11-of-30 triples.

Wright said the Toppers are a close-knit group that knows each other and knows how to win together.

Neal McCourt, who added seven points and nearly threw down a slam dunk in the second half, said the team’s camaraderie helps on the court.

“It transfers to good rotations on defense,” he said. “We’re good at communicating with each other. We have good ball movement, which gets Davey, me, Benny, Brandon, Chas open shots.”

Doerflinger said the success starts off the court.

“When we’re not here, we’re at my house, Chas’ house, we’re all hanging out wherever we go,” he said. “We’re able to yell at each other, but be constructive about it.”

Scott said the Toppers are very experienced and got better as the game went on Tuesday night.

“We have to get better,” Scott said. “Our league gets us ready for this. We finished fourth in our league, which is pretty darn good. Now is where you make your money.”

“We could run into Hustisford Saturday, and the No. 1 team is Sheboygan Lutheran, the defending state champ, and they are really good.”

See the full story in the March 5 edition of the Standard Press