February 01, 2019
By: Erica Rose
One thing I've learned while covering sports is you can never rely on records to get you by. Sure, the Central Catholic boys basketball team was sitting at .500 in the EPC when they traveled to a 9-4 Nazareth squad, but the Vikings had the Blue Eagles' number the first time around; and last night was no different.
The Blue Eagles jumped out to a quick start in the division showdown, up 4-0 before Chad Kratzer’s three; but once the Vikings put their defense into motion the tide shifted. Turnovers were a major part of the game for both teams in the first quarter, but it was the Vikings who kept up the intensity on the defensive end allowing them to take control. A steal would tie the game at 8 for the Vikings, but the Blue Eagles would return the favor to go back up. A turnover at the buzzer allowed the Blue Eagles to extend their lead to 17-12 at the end of the quarter. But, that is when things took a turn for the worse for them. Two straight travels and a steal to open the second quarter led the Vikings to an 8-0 run and their first lead of the game at 20-17. From this point they would never look back.
The Vikings would take their largest lead at 14 with 2:15 left in the 3rd, but the Blue Eagles never quit. They brought the game within 5 multiple times, but could never get over the hump mainly due to free throws. The Vikings take pride in their free throw shooting, and they have many guys who can knock them down. It showed, especially down the stretch. Central finished the night knocking down 19 of 24, while the Blue Eagles shot just 6 of 14. This was the difference maker, because the Blue Eagles hit back-to-back triples with under a minute to play, but the final 4 from the charity stripe were good and Central once again was walking away victorious 64-57.
Stephon Sheard netted 20 on the night for the Blue Eagles, but Central did a great job controlling him. Especially junior Jaylen Green, who did not just have a strong defensive outing but also, tacked on 19 points. Senior Chad Kratzer led the way with 24 in what was an exciting team win.
Both teams are back on the court tonight, and the Vikings hope to ride this momentum. They welcome in Emmaus, who embarrassed them (their words) the first time around 79-37. But the team is looking forward to the challenge and believes they are different this time around.