Sandy keeps pace early before falling to Central
6A BOYS BASKETBALL
|#5 Central Catholic (21-5)|
|Sandy Pioneers (17-9)|
PORTLAND — The Sandy boys gave themselves a chance early, but No. 5-ranked Central Catholic put on a surge coming out of the halftime locker room to claim a 66-43 win in Friday's second-round playoff game.
Central Catholic put all five starters into the scorebook four minutes into the game on its way to a 16-8 first-quarter lead, as Sandy attacked the basket but struggled to finish at the rim.
The Pioneers got back into contention when Kaleb Hubbard sank 3s on back-to-back possessions, letting his arm hang in the air while looking back to the Pioneers' student section which was jumping.
"We came in believing we could get the 'W'," Sandy assistant coach Chris Aden said. "They made some runs, and we battled back with some of our own."
Central sent the ball inside to 6-foot-7 center SataieVior Ayilola on the offensive end, but he was quickly surrounded by three black shirts and shuffled his feet for a traveling violation.
Sandy had a chance to move in front, but Darius Gakwasi swiped the ball away along the baseline. Isaiah Amato answered with a corner 3 at the other end.
The Pioneers would have another chance at the lead a few minutes later, but a 3-pointer clipped the back rim and bounced out.
Still, Sandy had a chance to make it a one-possession game heading into halftime when Hubbard got his defender into the air, and leaned forward to draw contact on his way up for a layup.
The shot came off the rim and no whistle sounded.
Action flowed the other way fast with Gakwasi soaring to the basket only to be blocked from behind by Pioneers' guard Colby Carson. This time the referees did call a foul, bringing the Sandy coaching staff to its feet in protest.
"It's a big game with big emotions," Aden said.
Gakwasi buried both free throws to send Central to the locker room up 26-20.
"That gave us some momentum, but we went into halftime realizing we needed to give it a second push," Gakwasi said.
It happened fast.
Gakwasi sank a pair of 3-pointers from the left side, Tyson Parker added another deep ball, and Gakwasi shifted over to the other side of the floor and drilled another triple.
Within minutes the Rams had the lead up to 16 points.
"They got 3s on back-to-back possessions and that will suck the life out of a basketball game," Aden said.
With the margin growing, emotions on the court began to flare. Most notably after Ayilola watched a Sandy player drive the lane with a flurry of moves only to block his shot out the corner of the court, then stepping in close to be sure everyone knew who denied the chance.
Central Catholic held for the final shot of the quarter and cashed in with Ayilola driving the baseline and spinning the ball off the glass to send the Rams into the fourth quarter up 19.
Central Catholic (21-5) advances to face Metro champ Jesuit (20-6) in the quarterfinals at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Chiles Center.
Sandy finished the season with a 17-9 record.
"It felt like we figured things out the second time through league, and to be here with a chance to go to that next level is huge for these guys," Aden said.
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This story is slated for our March 6, print edition.
6A boys second round
Friday, March 1
SANDY 8 12 8 15 — 43
Sandy (43) — Kaleb Hubbard 17, Roeder 10, Carson 4, Gorski 4, Johns 3, Adovnik 2, Brewster 2, Powell 1, Robinson, Murphy, Black, Chamberlain, Hoecker.
Central Catholic (66) — Darius Gakwasi 20, Ayilola 15, Seamster 11, Parker 8, Amato 8, Gold 2, Bostic 2, Ainslie, James, King, Johnson.
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