IC Catholic returns to action, tops St. Edward
Welcome to high school basketball in the pandemic era.
The IC Catholic Prep boys basketball team entered their home tilt with St. Edward on Tuesday night having missed their prior two games due to separate opponent COVID-19 cancellations.
Knights coach T.J. Tyrrell would have preferred his team to play those contests, but since it couldn't, he made the best of it, with extra practice.
Practice makes perfect, so to speak. ICCP parlayed those extra reps into a 57-48 victory over the Green Wave.
Senior guard Augie Wassmann and sophomore guard Jake Gallagher paced the Knights with 14 points apiece, while senior forward John Hilgart chipped in 10.
St. Edward senior guard Robert Wilson, who came into Tuesday averaging 16.5 points per game, finished with 13 despite fouling out with 4:26 to go. Senior Jacob Breier and junior Ben Zielinski each added 10 points.
"We used the time to get in some good reps in with the guys, and this was a (Class) 2A opponent, so it's always important when you match up with 2A or any other division," Tyrrell said.
If the Knights had any rust, it didn't show early, as they jumped out to a quick 11-4 lead midway through the first quarter. But Wilson, who had just one bucket in the first quarter, got hot in the second, scoring 9, including a 3-pointer with 1:34 to go, followed 38 seconds later by another from Zielinski.
But ICCP held Wilson to no points in the third quarter, while simultaneously making 11 of 13 free throws -- four apiece by Hilgart and Wassmann. Wassmann also scored 6 in an 8-0 run to close the period with his team up 43-35.
The closest the Green Wave (8-3, 1-0 in the Metro Suburban Red) would get in the fourth quarter was 7 on a 5-0 free-throw run.
"We just didn't score, hit our shots, Robert was out," lamented St. Edward coach Andy Zielinski, who was assessed his first-ever technical foul in the third quarter after Wilson picked up his third foul. "We didn't do enough to win."
ICCP (5-3, 0-1 in the Metro Suburban Blue) won the points-in-the-paint battle 18-12, and also took rebounding honors at 22-14. Perhaps just as significant was the fact that the Knights got 6 bench points and rebounds, including four boards from senior forward Antonio Richardson, in his first game back after a football injury.
Wassmann scored 8 of his 14 points in that big third quarter. Senior guard Liam Johnson added 6 points and 7 rebounds.
"I just try to find the gaps with the offense and my teammates got me some good passes, and I got some really good looks," Wassmann said.
"This is huge," added Johnson of the victory. "We're getting back in the flow of things. We gutted out a good win and we're ready for more."