TROY — Familiar Ohio Heritage Conference rivals squared off for the second straight season in the Division IV sectional title game with the same result.
Catholic Central turned to its go-to guy down the stretch and won the rubber match against Cedarville 48-43 at Troy High School on Saturday.
“We didn’t feel like we lost because of hustle or anything like that,” head coach Ryan Godlove said. “We’re just super proud of our guys and what they gave tonight.”
Tyler Galluch scored 26 of his 30 points in the second half, including stretches of 14 and 12 straight points, to propel the Irish to the win.
“We just tried to get a hand in passing lanes and make it hard to get him the ball,” Godlove said. “They started having him bring the ball down and isolated a shooter. He just hit some tough shots.”
Tied heading into the final period, the Irish and Indians traded the lead seven times as the fans on both sides of the gym continuously erupted with each basket.
Cedarville led by two with 2:18 remaining and had the ball, but lost control near midcourt which led to a transition dunk for Galluch. He followed up on their next possession with a driving basket and foul to put CC up by three.
Drew Koning was able to cut the deficit back to one for Cedarville, and as they let the Irish dribble out the ensuing possession Galluch found space in the paint and used his strength to score another and-one basket and essentially put the game away.
“We were a great shooting team all year and they made things tough on us,” Godlove said. “That’s part of the reason why we missed, but we also missed some that we usually make. Just didn’t work out for us.”
Tyler Cross had 11 points to lead the Indians and Braden Criswell added nine. Koning scored eight and Mason Johnson added six.
Both sides have become recognizable to one another the past two seasons. In addition to also meeting in last year’s sectional final, they have split four regular season meetings.
The familiarity showed early as neither team shot well in the first half in what was mostly a defensive stalemate.
Cedarville was 1-for-10 from three and didn’t score at the free throw line. Forcing numerous turnovers playing up to the physical nature of the game, the Indians built a small lead mainly through runouts while holding the Irish to four points in the second quarter to get a 19-14 advantage at the break.
Neither Galluch or Koning, the two leading scorers during OHC play in the regular season, got going in the opening half as they combined for six points.
The Indians led by seven early in the third before Galluch began scoring at will. Cedarville countered as the teams began to trade leads, but the Indians missed a chance to get in front heading to the fourth after being unable to convert at the basket twice on a breakaway in the final seconds of the quarter.
In a game with points at a premium, they were two needed that could have made a difference.
Cedarville finishes the season with a 20-5 record for the second straight year and loses four seniors.
“Those guys have been leaders for us, that’s gonna be really hard to replace,” Godlove said. “I think a lot of those guys are selfless and hopefully our younger guys just take note of how they lead and pick up where they left off.”