Central Catholic an unfriendly foe in win over Gateway
Paris Ford waited an extra second, long enough to let Gateway's Delvon Randall leap in the air and land on his back.
When Randall came crashing down, he fouled Ford, and Central Catholic's freshman got up right away and began jawing at Randall.
Such a play is befitting of Ford, who plays with reckless abandon, but also consider that Ford and Randall are first cousins.
“Hey, basketball's a competitive game,” Ford said. “There's no friends in basketball.”
Ford and the rest of Central Catholic were anything but welcoming as they used a strong third quarter to thump Gateway, 84-60, in a Section 2-AAAA home game Friday night.
Ford scored a game-high 18 points, including the two third-quarter free throws after drawing contact on Randall.
Central Catholic pulled away with a 14-0 run during the second half of the third quarter as Kevin Wharton-Price, Rashaad Wheeler and Ford drained 3-pointers.
The Vikings outscored Gateway, 25-15, in the third, getting eight of those points from Ford.
“I have no clue,” Chuck Crummie said of why his team was so determined in the third quarter. “We have not had a good third quarter all season.”
Sean Whalen and Alex Schoppen scored 12 points apiece for Central Catholic, which eclipsed its per-game average by 24 points. The Vikings have put up 160 points in their past two games, both wins.
Central Catholic (8-5, 5-1) scored eight of the first 11 points in the fourth quarter to put it away, a stretch punctuated by a 3-pointer from John Petrishen with 6:08 to play.
Whalen's steal with less than a minute left in the first period led to a tic-tac-toe scoring play, Bricen Garner to Schoppen to finish a 6-0 run that gave Central Catholic a 14-10 lead with 49.5 seconds left.
The Vikings outscored Gateway, 17-12, in the opening quarter.
“Everybody was so into it,” said Whalen, who's from Monroeville. “The bench was going crazy. It felt surreal out there.”
The lead changed hands seven times during the second quarter as Gateway's Shomari Thomas scored eight points in the first 3:10.
Ford finished the first half with a slashing layup that gave the Vikings a 35-31 lead at the break.
Gateway (9-4, 5-1) played without Montae Nicholson, who will be out until next week with a back injury.
The Gators struggled with foul trouble early and never put together a sustained run against Central Catholic's zone defense.
Daylon Harris led Gateway with 12 points. Thomas Kromka, who fouled out early in the fourth, had 11, and Thomas finished with 10.
None of that, though, meant much to Gateway coach Mitch Adams.
“We didn't show up,” Adams said. “Central played well. We got in foul trouble right away, and (Central) dictated the tempo of the game.
“We missed a lot of layups and foul shots. These kids have to show up. They didn't show up tonight.”