GRAND ISLAND — Grand Island Central Catholic bounced back from a narrow 44-43-overtime loss to Grand Island Northwest to defeat Blue Hill 57-34. The Crusaders patience on offense, coupled with sharp shooting proved to be too much for the Bobcats zone defense.
“We did a lot of nice things. We finished at times, we did the diamond press and we’re not used to doing that,” GICC Head Coach Tony Martinez said. “We executed that pretty well at the end of the first half to get some distance between us.”
Sophomore Mayra Almyra led the Crusaders with 12 points and five assists on the night. His presence was felt on the defensive end as well, tallying five steals.
GICC jumped out to an early 7-2 lead in a slow-paced first quarter, but the Bobcats clawed back thanks to two deep three pointers from Junior Kody Mans. After ending the first quarter up just four, GICC solved the riddle that was the Bobcat zone defense and the points came pouring in.
The Crusaders added a pair of threes on back-to-back possessions midway through the second quarter, followed by a three pointer from Junior Aidan Anspach who finished with 12 points and five assists. Junior Collin Toner and Senior Ryan Bernal added two more baskets that stretched the Crusaders lead to double digits.
Blue Hill committed three straight turnovers to end the half and GICC took a 33-18 lead into halftime.
GICC stayed hot on the offensive end in the third quarter, with Almyra adding six of his twelve points in the third and finishing the quarter with a steal and layup. Despite GICC’s continued success on the offensive end, Blue Hill mounted a bit of a comeback the third quarter thanks to Junior Austin Strasburg, who finished with a game-high 15 points.
The Crusaders regained control thanks to a three-pointer from Bernal and a pair of free throws from Anspach, which helped seal the victory.
Despite the comfortable win, Martinez wasn’t happy with his team’s performance saying, “I don’t think our urgency and focus or anything like that was very good tonight,” he said. “We happen to score a few more points than they did, but we’ve got to be ready to play a little harder, with a little more energy and focus.”
Martinez shared the blame for his team’s apparent “lack of focus” but stresses that his team has a chance to play again and improve that aspect tomorrow.
“I didn’t have us ready to go at the tip, but we have another opportunity tomorrow with Holdredge coming in, which will be a much tougher test on us. If we’re not ready at the tip it isn’t going to be luck of the draw or happenstance that we can get some distance between us.”
Grand Island Central Catholic…..57
Blue Hill 34
Kody Mans 3-6 1-1 9, Alec Meyer 1-2 2-2 3, Trent Karr 2-2 0-1 4, Jayden Hamel 2-4 0-2 4, Austin Strasburg 6-7 3-3 15, 0-2 2-2 2, Jacob VanBoening 0-1 2-2 2
Grand Island Central Catholic 57
Ryan Bernal 2-10 0-0 6, Noah Bernal 4-5 0-0 9, Jack Goering 2-5 0-0 6, Mayra Almayra 4-4 1-2 9, Aidan Anspach 4-12 2-2 12, Chase Wenzl 3-4 1-1 8, Collin Toner 1-1 0-0 2, Jonah Bales 1-1 0-0 2, Vinn Stevenson 1-1 0-0 2