Published Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 11:46 pm
Crusaders pull away from St. Paul

ST. PAUL — Grand Island Central Catholic gathered some momentum for the postseason with a road victory, turning back upset-minded St. Paul 63-47 Friday night in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The Wildcats (3-17) trailed just 33-32 after Landon Vogel’s 3-pointer with 4:11 remaining in the third quarter. However, Alex Allen answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Crusaders (15-8) take a 41-34 lead into the fourth quarter where GICC pulled away on the strength of an 11-of-14 performance at the free-throw line.

Allen scored all six of his points in a 31-second span, but both coaches pointed to the senior’s consecutive 3-pointers as perhaps the turning point.

"Alex has done that for us," GICC coach Tino Martinez said. "In the York game, he stepped in and hit five (threes) and he’s done that at different times for us this season. (St. Paul) was junk-defensing Johnny Rohweder, so Alex did a nice job of stepping up and giving us a little lead, so they had to go man-to-man defense or go regular zone and we were able to run more of the offensive stuff we’re used to running.

"One thing junk defenses do is take you out of your rhythm and we didn’t do a very good job of attacking it, so hopefully we learned from it."

Rohweder scored 16 points for the Crusaders, finishing 3-of-4 from 3-point range. The 6-foot-2 junior guard hit two 3-pointers in the first 90 seconds before the Wildcats locked down on him man to man, limiting Rohweder to two field-goal attempts in the final three quarters.

Youhanna Ghaifan scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead GICC. The 6-4 junior post player scored nine second-quarter points and had eight in the third quarter, finishing 11-of-14 shooting from the floor in one of his stronger games since returning to the Crusaders after a knee injury.

"Youhanna has had a very good three weeks, coming back," Martinez said. "His first weekend back, he was a little tender, but he’s back to normal and back in shape. He’s a load down inside, so when people play (junk defenses) against Johnny, we have to be able to get the ball inside to Youhanna and then he’s just a force on the boards — extremely hard to box out.

"We’re very fortunate that he’s back, healthy and able to give us some quality production."

St. Paul coach Derek Reinsch was pleased with his team’s aggressive play.

"I loved our intensity and I loved the way we got after it tonight," said Reinsch, whose squad could earn a rematch with the Crusaders on Tuesday if it can beat Central City in Monday’s subdistrict opener. "Our guys battled against a great team very hard down the stretch. You just have to give credit to GICC.

"It was about an eight-point game when we started fouling and GICC stepped up."

Vogel led St. Paul with 16 points. Senior guard Josh Harrahill added 14 points and three assists.

"We knew St. Paul was a very capable team," Martinez said. "Harrahill is a really talented player who has given a lot of people fits and we didn’t execute some details in the first half. In the second half, we did a better job of taking some things away and gave them a harder time scoring.

"It was hard-fought. We’re fortunate to come out on top."

The Crusaders played without guard Eli Hunter, who missed his second consecutive game after suffering a head injury on Feb. 14 against Hastings St. Cecilia. Martinez said Hunter has been cleared to return to practice this weekend and could possibly be available for subdistricts.

GICC 63, St. Paul 47

GICC (15-8)
Stevenson 1-2 0-0 2, Brokaw 2-3 1-2 5, Rohweder 4-5 5-7 16, Allen 2-10 0-0 6, Ghaifan 11-14 5-8 27, Pfeifer 0-0 0-0 0, Heidelk 0-1 4-4 4, Wiens 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 21-39 15-21 63.

ST. PAUL (3-17)
Harrahill 3-8 7-9 14, Jerabek 2-8 0-0 5, Vogel 7-14 0-0 16, Stoltenberg 1-3 0-0 2, Schulte 3-5 2-2 10, Woodgate 0-2 0-0 0, Lawver 0-1 0-0 0, Helzer 0-0 0-0 0, Eschliman 0-0 0-0 0, Griffith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-41 9-11 47.

GICC 14 13 14 22—63
St. Paul 13 9 12 13—47

3-point goals—GICC 6-14 (Rohweder 3-4, Allen 2-6, Wiens 1-4), St. Paul 6-19 (Harrahill 1-4, Jerabek 1-5, Bogel 2-5, Stoltenberg 0-1, Schulte 2-2, Woodgate 0-2). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—GICC 30 (Ghaifan 11), St. Paul 19 (Schulte 6). Assists—GICC 15 (Stevenson 5, Brokaw 5), St. Paul 9 (Harrahill 3, Schulte 3). Turnovers—GICC 7, St. Paul 6. Total fouls—GICC 13, St. Paul 16. Technicals—None. A—NA.

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