Big Red ups tempo, pulls away from CCHS

GATHERING IT IN — Big Red’s James Roundtree tries to regain possesion of the ball in front of Catholic Central’s A.J. and Luca Connor during Saturday’s game inside the Crimson Center. (Photo by Andrew Grimm)

STEUBENVILLE — In a game featuring contasting style, the Big Red boys’ basketball team ran past city rival Catholic Central.

The Crusaders were patient offensively early on, but eventually Big Red was able to pick up the pace as they pulled away for a 63-37 victory in the first meeting between the two schools Saturday night inside the Crimson Center.

“They had a gameplan,” Big Red coach Mike Haney said. “They pulled the ball out to halfcourt. They ran motion, and they ran the clock until they got a good shot. We were playing man, and they held it. They held it for four minutes, and they got a bucket out of it.

“At a timeout, we went to a 1-2-2 to try and speed up the tempo. We want to play at a fast tempo, and we weren’t doing that. After the first quarter, the score was 8-8. Then, we were able to speed up the pace, get some turnovers and score in transition.”

Big Red (5-2) led just 23-17 late in the second quarter before building a 59-25 advantage in the fourth.

“When you play Big Red, you have to control the game,” Catholic Central coach Chris Tarquinio said. “I think we did a good job of that in the first half. We were in the game. Our gameplan was to slow it down, and we did that.

“At the end of the second, they got that bucket on the tip in. It was 23-17. We had it down to six. That was kind of where we wanted to be. They were able to hit those two buckets, and that hurt us. Then, they were able to play at the pace they wanted.”

Ten players scored in the game for Big Red, three of which reached double digits. James Roundtree tallied a game-high 14 points, Kevin Bishop produced 13 points and Javon Davis delivered 12 points.

Eight players scored in the game for Catholic Central (4-4) — two of which reached double figures. Luca Connor and A.J. Connor each collected 10 points.

After the score was tied at 8 at the end of the first, Big Red built a 23-12 lead in the second quarter. The Crusaders pulled within six points, but Roundtree recorded the last four points of the half — the last two coming on a tip in at the buzzer — to give Big Red a 27-17 lead at halftime.

Big Red broke the game wide open in the third as they outscored the Crusaders 24-7 to take a 51-24 advantage into the fourth.

“We hit a couple of big 3s to push the lead out,” Haney said. “Javon had four 3s. We had seven total. We did a good job shooting the ball.”

Big Red’s lead continued to grow in the fourth.

“We are a team that has to put four full quarters together,” Tarquinio said. “If we do that, we are going to be a good team, and we are going to beat a lot of teams. We have not put four full quarters together in out last four games, and if we don’t do that we are in trouble.

“That is not disrespecting to the kids. They know what to expect. We have to put an entire game together.”

Big Red will have an opportunity to claim the coveted city championship when the two teams play again Jan. 12 at Catholic Central.

“You are playing for the city championship,” Haney said. “This is the first leg. You cannot win the city championship if you don’t win the first leg. Whether you live in town or you come home for the holidays, you will be talking about this 20-30 years down the road.”

The Crusaders will be looking to record a victory on their home court to split the season series.

“You say it is just another game, but it is one you cirlce on your schedule, and it is one you have on your bulletin board,” Tarquinio said. “Losing hurts, but win or lose it’s over. We have to get back to work Monday at practice.”

The victory enabled Bg Red to extend its advantage in the overall series.

“It is definitely nice to get the win,” Haney said.

Big Red won the JV game, 52-36. Randy Mitchell tallied a game-high 17 points to lead the way for Big Red, while Vince Carapellotti collected 14 points for Catholic Central.

Catholic Central is scheduled to play again Wednesday out at Union Local.

“We play a challenging schedule,” Tarquinio said. “I did that for a reason. Playing a tough schedule helps you build as a team so you can do what you need to do come tournament time. You have to fill the holes in the ship so you want sink.”

Big Red is slated to play Saturday at Massillon Perry. The JV game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

“It is good to have time off so we can give our legs a rest,” Haney said. “We played three games in four days. Now, we have a break before we get into another stretch of games.”

Big Red 63, Catholic Central 37

Catholic Central 8-9-7-13 – 37

Big Red 8-19-24-12 – 63

CATHOLIC CENTRAL (4-4): L. Connor 4 0-2 10; A. Connor 4 1-2 10; Gorman 0 1-2 1; DiBiase 0 0-0 0; J. Rook 2 1-2 7; Maragus 1 0-0 2; Carapellotti 0 0-0 0; M. Rook 1 0-0 3; Hough 0 0-0 0; Vandeborne 1 0-0 2; Costello 0 2-2 2; Stull 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 5-10 37.

BIG RED (5-2): D. Jones 1 0-2 2; Davis 4 0-0 12; J. Jones 2 0-1 4; Zane 2 1-1 6; Zimmerman 3 0-0 6; Bishop 5 1-1 13; Roundtree 4 6-7 14; Smith 0 2-2 2; Bracone 0 0-0 0; Bickerstaff 1 0-0 2; Rauch 1 0-0 2; Clevenger 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 23 10-14 63.

3-POINT GOALS: Catholic Central 6 (L. Connor 2; J. Rook 2; A. Connor; M. Rook); Big Red 7 (Davis 4; Bishop 2, Zane).