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South Christian stuns Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 70-50, takes first in the OK Gold

By: Kelly Hill, January 29, 2016, 9:19 pm

Cutlerville – Outscored 33-9 from beyond the 3-point arc, one of State Champs’ Top 10 teams, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, lost by 20 points to Grand Rapids South Christian in an O-K Conference Gold Division game on Friday at South Christian.

The Sailors’ 70-50 victory was fueled by 11 3-pointers, including a career-high six from Grand Valley State-bound senior Jennifer DeBoer, as well as a vocal defense that limited the Cougars to just three points in the second quarter, and which stifled a Catholic Central rally in the third.

Junior Sophia Karasinski made two of Catholic Central’s three 3-pointers and led the Cougars with 23 points. Karasinski hit the first bucket of the contest before South Christian answered with consecutive 3-pointers from seniors Zoie Hulst, Markayla Vander and DeBoer on its way to a 13-2 run. That early run, combined with 14 straight points to end the first half, gave the Sailors a 32-15 halftime lead.

“This was really a team effort, especially on the defensive end,” DeBoer said. “We knew they weren’t going to retreat and they did make a run.”

The Cougars (12-1, 4-1), ranked No. 3 in the Super 10 and No. 2 in Class B, trailed by as many as 21 early in the second half. They rallied to cut the Sailors’ lead to 40-32 in the final two minutes of the third quarter, but South Christian answered with an 8-1 run to end the frame.

“We played from our hearts,” South Christian coach Kim Legge told her team after the game. “This was a complete team effort. Everyone was engaged and I couldn’t ask for more.”

DeBoer finished the game with 24 points, while Vander had 20 and Hulst finished with 11.

“Our defense was the best I’ve seen it all year,” Legge said. “Tonight we came out firing but this team has put in a lot of effort and we are always talking about team effort. I was upset with the team’s defense on Tuesday so on Wednesday we drilled the defense. We talk on defense and when we don’t do that it affects the whole team.”

Karasinski and junior Tess Ens led Catholic Central’s third-quarter rally.

“You’ve got to give South credit for making shots,” Catholic Central coach Trevor Hinshaw said. “All we can control is getting better defensively. We lacked offensive flow (in the second quarter) and I have to do a better job of coaching. What I wanted to execute wasn’t getting executed.”

South Christian (12-0), ranked No. 8 in Class B, improved its record to 5-0 in the division, alone in first place.

“I’m not focused on our record as much as I am on making us a better basketball team,” Legge said. “Jen (DeBoer) is definitely a game-changer for us. Tonight her performance was obviously stellar, but I have come to know that I can count on her for that. She loves the game and is a student of the game.”