IC Catholic Prep added a matchup zone to its defensive playbook late in the season and had a lot of success with it throughout the playoffs.
Until the first five minutes of Friday's game against defending state champion Orr, that is.
Orr hit its first three 3-pointers -- one each by Chase Adams, Tyronn Mosely and Brian Hernandez -- and never looked back on its way to a 53-29 victory in the Class 2A Timothy Christian sectional championship game.
Hernandez later added a fourth 3-pointer to extend the Spartans' lead to 12-2 with 2:10 remaining in the first quarter. But defense was not the biggest problem Friday for IC Catholic Prep, coach T.J. Tyrrell said.
"We couldn't score," Tyrrell said. "We had a couple of defensive possessions where we really battled and fought for the boards. But they're full of athletes and very talented players. When they hit those 3s to start the game, we dug ourselves a hole and couldn't get out of it."
Orr (26-4) led by as many as 16 points in the second quarter before IC Catholic Prep closed to within 24-13 with fewer than 10 seconds remaining in the first half on a steal and a basket by Kevin Cheng.
But a three-point play by Orr's Dannie Smith at the end of the half and an 18-8 disadvantage in the third quarter closed the curtain on the Knights.
"They had scouted us and they would not even let me touch the ball," Cheng said. "They had their best guys on me and Alex (Meurer). (Orr) can kill you from anywhere. They got their opportunities, and hats off to them for hitting those 3s."
Six-foot-5 forward Raekwon Drake led Orr with 15 points, Smith added 11 and Hernandez contributed 9 points, all from beyond the arc.
"We don't want to disrespect anybody," Orr coach Louis Adams said. "We keep the game simple and make the plays down the stretch."
The loss ended IC Catholic Prep's season at 20-10 and marked the farewell appearance of nine seniors.
"I'm so proud of our seniors, the success that they've had throughout their time here and what they've done for the program," Tyrrell said. "They came to practice every day in a professional manner that set the tone for program for years to come."
Three of those seniors led IC Catholic Prep on Friday. Meurer had 11 points despite battling foul trouble, Cheng added 8 points and 4 rebounds and Nico Gaudio chipped in 7 points and 5 rebounds.
"I thought it was a very successful season," Cheng said. "A former coach came in and talked with us earlier in the week and said that some teams have good seasons, some teams have great seasons and some teams have championship seasons.
"Going from our playoff experience, the regional championship, a sectional appearance and a Christmas tournament championship, I consider this a championship season," Cheng added. "I'm proud of that."