Detroit Catholic Central upsets top ranked Detroit U-D Jesuit, 52-51
Novi – Throughout the early part of the Catholic League season, Detroit Catholic Central head coach Bill Dyer cited his team’s energy level being the key difference in its wins and losses.
And when the Shamrocks played host to Detroit U-D Jesuit, the No. 1 ranked team in the latest State Champs! rankings, Catholic Central’s energy level proved to be the difference.
Catholic Central led for the majority of Tuesday night’s game and after falling behind in the closing minutes, the Shamrocks would recover and hold off U-D Jesuit, 52-51, for their first win over the Cubs since the 2011-2012 season.
With U-D holding a considerable size advantage, with 6-9 forwards Greg Eboigbodin and Ike Eke, Dyer noted that he felt his team’s play defensively inside was key on Tuesday night and also added that his team’s effort on both ends of the court was key.
“We tried to be really physical in the paint,” he said. “We had Jack Morris in there holding it down and C.J. Baird played pretty good defense too. We fought for loose balls, we fought for rebounds, we fought for everything we got and we earned what we got tonight.”
With U-D trailing 39-37 to open the fourth quarter, Eboigbodin took over at the offensive end of the floor for the Cubs, scoring 10 points in the final stanza to give his team a 49-46 lead with 1:55 left to play.
But Catholic Central (7-3) responded immediately, scoring a quick four points behind baskets from C.J. Baird and C.J. Gutowski to take a retake the lead, 50-49 with just over one minute left to play.
After the two teams exchanged baskets on the following possessions with Catholic Central retaking the lead on a basket by Baird, U-D’s final opportunities would fall just short, including a shot that would go in and out with less than 10 seconds remaining.
Catholic Central was led by 14 points from Gio Genrich, while Brandon Recto and Gutowski each contributed 13 points in the win.
Recto credited his team’s composure for how it played throughout the game when U-D either closed the deficit or took the lead.
“It was great execution that we had,” he said. “We were staying strong mentally and we were just working together as a team.”
Coming out of halftime with a 25-23 lead, Catholic Central would take a 30-26 lead after a 3-pointer from Genrich, but the Cubs would manage to take their first lead of the game, with 2:30 left to play on a basket from Eboigbodin that made it 34-33.
Eboigbodin finished with a game-high 23 points to lead the way for the Cubs (8-3).
But the Shamrocks would respond by scoring six of the next seven points, four coming from Genrich to take a 39-35 lead late in the third quarter.
Dyer noted that with the Shamrocks going four full seasons without a win over their Catholic League rival, Tuesday’s win was a good moment for his program.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve beaten them, we hadn’t beaten them since Cassius (Winston) got there,” he said. “So it’s been a long, long time, for good reason because they’ve just been better than we have. So tonight, we got one back and it truly felt pretty good.”