Central Gives Mars All It Can Handle

Knights Take Pa. Power to the Wire

Wheeling Central’s Owen Gainer (12) splits a pair of Mars defenders during their game Saturday at Wheeling Jesuit University.

WHEELING — When taking on Mars and Notre Dame-bound Robby Carmody, Wheeling Central knew it would take an out-of-this-world performance.

And for 31-plus minutes, the Knights delivered it, too.

However, a couple of late empty trips and a few costly turnovers proved to be the eventual undoing for Central as it dropped its first game of the season, 77-70, in the opening game of Saturday’s Cancer Research Classic schedule at Wheeling Jesuit University’s Alma Grace McDonough Center.

“No disrespect to anyone, but this was by far the best team we’ve played,” Central coach Mel Stephens said. “We gave a great effort and if a couple of bounces went a different way down the stretch, it might be a different story.”

Indeed.

When playing against a high-level player like Carmody and a talented team, Stephens knew his team would need to bring its best.

“We weren’t perfect, but we were able to make enough big plays to keep us in the game and within striking distance most of the game,” he said.

Central, which trailed by four at halftime, battled back to tie the game at 54-54 after three, which set up an entertaining seven-plus minutes in the fourth quarter, which included five lead changes and three ties.

Carmody, who was named the game’s MVP, collected his fourth personal foul on a player control call with 6:02 to play. His father and head coach, Rob Carmody, trusted his son and star enough that he didnt’ spend a second on the bench.

Finishing with 26 points and 14 rebounds, Carmody lived up to the billing.

“Our key was to attack Carmody because we knew he was their best player and if we could get him into foul trouble and possibly out of the game, it might swing things in our favor,” Stephens said. “Give him credit. He did a good job. He’s going to Notre Dame for a reason. He knows how to play the game and he adjusted to what we were trying to do and made a couple of plays at the end.”

Meanwhile, though Central made a concerted effort to go at Carmody, the future Irish player stayed within himself. He altered three shots, blocked one and collected two rebounds after being whistled for his fourth.

Wheeling Central (8-1) led 67-66 with 2:07 to go after a Cedric Williams bucket, but that shot was answered by Cade Hetzler, who knocked down an elbow jumper on the ensuing trip to give the Planets a 68-67 lead.

One of Carmody’s rebounds came after Central missed a dunk. He was fouled and promptly sank both foul shots.

However, Central wasn’t done just yet. Anthony Robbins tallied on the inside with 1:11 to go and after a turnover, impressive senior Brent Price got 1 of 2 at the line, knotting the game at 70-70 with 43 seconds to play.

That proved to be the final time the Maroon Knights scored.

Carmody again rebounded and was fouled in the frontcourt. He made both, giving Mars a 72-70 lead. After Michael Carmody collected a defensive rebound and was fouled, he made 1 of 2.

Central grabbed the rebound, but Hetzler recorded a steal and layup, which was the first nail in the Knights’ coffin.

“There were a couple of plays at the end where we needed to execute and we just didn’t,” Stephens said. “This is the tightest game we’ve been in and hopefully the kids learn from this. Obviously, there are a couple of things we need to do better and move forward.”

Carmody put the final exclamation point on matters when he got a steal and raced in for a reverse, two-handed dunk just before the horn.

“To win these types of games, you have to make plays at the end and (Mars) made them and we didn’t,” Stephens said.

The Maroon Knights, though disappointed with the outcome, will go back to work and still have all of their goals ahead of them.

“This is a game that will benefit us down the road,” Stephens said.

Central had a quartet of double-figure scorers. Senior Owen Gainer led the way with 21, while Price finished with 20. Robbins posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards. Williams closed with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Mars, which played just five players, got double-figure scoring from four of those players. Andrew Recchia and Hetzler went for 19 and 16, respectively. Michael Carmody added 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Montverde 77

La Lumiere 55

Montverde made it a perfect weekend in the 11th annual Cancer Research Classic, and in the process exacted some revenge.

The nation’s No. 1-ranked team, which features upward of 14 future Division-I players, was too much for La Lumiere. The meeting was a rematch of last season’s Dick’s National High School Tournament championship game, which La Lumiere won.

The Eagles, however, appear to be on a path back to the national tournament as they improved to 20-0.

The Eagles exerted their will early and often, assuming a 20-14 lead after one quarter. They doubled the margin at halftime and outscored La Lumiere, 18-15, in the third.

Florida-bound Andrew Nembhard fueled the attack with 16 points in the opening three quarters and finished with 21 and was named the game’s MVP.

Duke signee R.J. Barrett flashed the entire arsenal. He had 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

La Lumiere was paced by talented senior point guard Tyger Campbell. He went for 18 and passed out five assists. Charles Stewart and Isaiah Stewart each had 13 .

Findlay Prep 93, IMG 79

In arguably the most entertaining game of the weekend, Findlay Prep and IMG hooked up in a battle for more than three quarters for Findlay pulled away for the victory.

The end of the third quarter included a stretch just over 90 seconds in which the teams hit seven triples.

Kyler Edwards led Findlay with 25 points, five rebounds and five assists en route to game MVP honors. Bol Bol scored 26 points, grabbed seven rebounds and swatted four shots.

Reggie Chaney scored 17.

Webster Grove 75

Wheeler 62

Behind a CRC record, seven 3-pointers from game MVP Ray Adams, Webster Grove, a public school in suburban St. Louis, pulled away for a victory against Wheeler from Georgia.

Adams finished with 23 points as he made 7 of 9 shots from behind the arc.

R.J. Wright added 20 points for the winners, who outscored Wheeler, 45-30, in the middle two quarters.

Carte’Are Gordon finished with 17 points.

Wheeler was led by E.J. Montgomery with 31.

D.C. Gonzaga 67

Mater Dei 62

A battle of toughness ensued during the fifth game of the day-long event with D.C. Gonzaga outlasting Mater Dei, which is located in suburban Los Angeles.

Gonzaga was led in the scoring column by Penn State signee Myles Dread, who earned game MVP honors with 21 points, five rebounds and five assists. Chuck Harris added 14.

Mater Dei wasled by Spencer Freedman, who went for 16. Harrison Butler finished with 11.

DeMatha 73

McEachern 63

The final game was tightly contested during the first half, but the Washington D.C. power DeMatha exerted its will on McEachern, an underclass-dominated team from Georgia en route to the win.

Sophomore Hunter Dickinson was impressive on the interior for the Stags en route to game MVP honors. He finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds.

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