Catholic Central gets revenge on rival, honors state tourney teams
By Mike Ramczyk
With a bunch of champions in the house, the will to win was at an all-time high for the Catholic Central boys basketball team Saturday night.
Couple that with the chance to gain revenge on rival Faith Christian, the team that shockingly bounced the Toppers from the playoffs in the first round last season, and it was the perfect recipe for a victory.
In fact, it was the first win of the season for Catholic Central, which crushed the undermanned Eagles, 37-18.
But Catholic Central head coach Steve Smith, who was honored for his part in coaching the 2006 state champion boys team, will take a win however he can get it.
The Toppers are 1-10 this season.
At halftime, the Toppers honored members of their state tournament teams of 1976, 1984, 2001, 2006 and 2016.
The night took on special meaning for Smith, whose son was part of the ‘06 state champs.
“Catholic Central is such a special place,” Coach Smith said. “I’ve been affiliated with the school for almost 20 years including 15 as a coach. Its history is rooted in the fabric of the Burlington community.
“When I see all of these people return, it’s just a reminder of the specialness of this school. I have a connection to three of the five teams that were honored. It was very nice to see many of those guys. It also is a reminder of how hard it is to achieve the pinnacle of our sport. I believe success is a mindset, and the people that were honored at halftime absolutely have that mindset.”
The Toppers overcame Faith Christian’s zone defense despite being down a starter and having Evan Krien limited due to injury.
But senior Cal Miles came through big time, scoring a game-high 17 points with seven rebounds.
Alex Vogt made his first career start and played well with five points and three rebounds.
“They wanted to slow the game down and force us to win the game inside,” Smith said. “We needed some guys to step up. Faith is the first team we’ve faced this season that played a zone defense, and it took us awhile to get comfortable offensively. What I was really pleased with was our defensive intensity. We played great help defense, we defended inside-out and we forced them into 19% shooting, including 2 for 19 from 3-point range.”
Daniel von Rabenau and Max Robson each added six rebounds for the Toppers.
To read the complete story see the Jan. 13 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.