Grand Island Central Catholic made the plays down the stretch in a 55-51 overtime win over Minden Thursday night at Central Catholic High School.
The game was still up for grabs in the closing seconds until Harry Heidelk made 1-of-2 free throws with 1.1 seconds left in overtime to clinch the win for the Crusaders (2-2).
GICC coach Bill Gavers saw plenty of improvement from his team since a loss to Columbus Scotus.
“The biggest thing for us was coming off the Scotus game we talked about executing down the stretch which includes taking care of the ball, getting the ball where it needs to go and knocking down free throws,” Gavers said.
The Crusaders did that in the fourth quarter and overtime. Phoenix Stevenson and Heidelk both made clutch free throws in the fourth along with Riley Shoemaker to help get the game to overtime.
Minden’s R.J. Watson — who led all scorers with 24 points — hit a 3-pointer with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in the fourth to tie the score at 49.
It was the fourth 3-pointer of the quarter for the Whippets (3-2).
“It seems like we got lost and gave up some wide open threes to them, but you have to give credit to Minden for knocking them down,” Gavers said. “I don’t think we gave up those in the overtime and I think that’s critical. You still win tough ball games by guarding people down the stretch.”
Central Catholic had a couple of chances to win the game in regulation in the closing seconds. Stevenson drove to the basket but missed a short shot. Youhanna Ghaifan’s putback also was off the mark.
“I thought we got two pretty good looks at the end,” Gavers said. “Phoenix took it off one leg, and maybe he didn’t think he had enough time, and Youhanna got the rebound, so I felt like we got a good look. We just needed to keep executing.”
Minden coach Shannon Lovin gave credit to the Crusaders.
“You have to give credit to Central Catholic for forcing us into a lot of mistakes,” Lovin said. “They’re such a disciplined team and they play so smart. We made some mistakes that hurt ourselves tonight, but they caused a lot of those mistakes.”
Shoemaker led GICC with 21 points while Ghaifan had 20 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Ghaifan helped get the Crusaders going in the second quarter with two straight steals and layups at the other end. He also forced a five-second call while guarding a Minden guard out front in the overtime period.
“They really have a five-guard lineup, so that creates some match-up problems and Yohanna was guarding a guard at times,” Gavers said.
Lovin said he‘s been happy with this team‘s play early in the season.
“I think we‘ve been playing pretty well, but then again we hadn’t seen this intensity,” Lovin said. “ “This was good for us because we’re going to see some games coming up where we’ll see this kind of ball game. It’s always good playing these guys because they play so hard and are so disciplined.”
Minden (3-2) ............... 11 13 12 14 2—51
Grand Island CC (2-2)............... 10 13 9 17 6—55
M: Carlson 1-8 0-0 2, Watson 10-15 3-4 24, Chramosta 3-6 1-2 8, Lovin 2-3 0-0 4, Lempka 3-5 0-0 7, Werner 2-7 0-0 6, Gibbins 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-45 4-6 51.
G: Stevenson 1-4 3-4 5, Brokaw 0-1 1-3 1, Rohweder 1-8 0-0 3, Shoemaker 7-12 5-8 21, Ghaifan 8-14 4-6 20, Buck 0-0 0-0 0, Heidelk 1-1 3-6 5, Wiens 0-0 0-0 0, Holen 0-0 0-0 0, Harding 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-40 16-27 55.
3-point goals—Minden 5-19 (Werner 2-6, Watson 1-2, Lempka 1-2, Chramosta 1-3, Lovin 0-1, Gibbins 0-1). GICC 3-11 (Shoemaker 2-2, Rohweder 1-8, Brokaw 0-1). Fouled out—Chramosta. Rebounds—Minden 25 (Lovin 9). GICC 26 (Ghaifan 12). Total fouls—Minden 19, GICC 13. Technicals—None.