A good second (third and fourth) impression
Arrowhead wins key Classic 8 battle after weathering first-quarter storm
Watching the first quarter of Friday's key Classic 8 battle between the Arrowhead and Catholic Memorial boys basketball teams would have left you with little doubt about which team was better. It wasn't the team that wound up winning.
Arrowhead weathered an early storm and chipped away at Memorial's early outburst, then owned the fourth quarter en route to a 65-56 victory that gave the Warhawks a 2-0 start to the league season. After topping Homestead on Saturday, the Warhawks moved to 6-0.
"For this early in the season, that's an intense game," said Arrowhead coach Craig Haase. "They came out like gangbusters in the first quarter. We knew they'd be pumped up to play us, and somehow we weathered that first quarter. It wasn't pretty. Last time out, we gave up 19 points through three quarters. Tonight, we gave up 19 in the first, but the kids stuck with what we do well, and that's defend. I thought we defended awfully well for the next three quarters."
Memorial led after the first quarter, 19-11, but the lead was as big as 15-5 after the Crusaders hit four straight shots in the middle of the period. Andre Bodden beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to get the Memorial gym rocking.
"We just essentially got out of rhythm offensively and defensively," Memorial coach Dean Bellanti said. "We stopped playing together, it became a lot of standing around looking at one another instead of working together to get something done. You can play the first eight minutes as well as we did, probably our best eight minutes of the year, and then the rest of the game, it was just a gradual decline. We didn't get back to running any kind of offensive system."
Arrowhead was within 2 points already by halftime, then took its first lead at the 3:30 mark of the third quarter when Ricky Finco hit the second of consecutive 3-pointers, en route to 8 points. Jake Giffhorn of Memorial beat the buzzer with a layup in the third quarter to knot the score at 41, but Arrowhead went on a 12-4 run to open the final frame. Dom Todarello, who scored 8 of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, hit two huge 3-pointers in the stretch.
"Dom is an absolute beast of a competitor," Haase said. "You want him when you go and compete in any game, I don't care what it is. If we're going to play dominoes, I want him on my side. If we're going to play Monopoly, I want him on my side. He just competes."
Todarello was also a key part of the ball-handling scheme. Arrowhead committed only four turnovers in the second half of a game that never lost its up-tempo pace.
"We kind of just stuck to our plan," Todarello said. "We had a guy come up and rotate up to the front of the press, and it really worked out for us. We have a lot of guys that can make plays. CMH has a lot of good shooters on their team, and they're physical, too. They're big and athletic. It's always a good matchup here."
Haase credited his seven seniors for adjusting to Memorial's pressure and tweaking the attack. Kyle Keranen, the team's leading scorer for much of the season, finished with 18 points. Haase also spoke highly of freshman Brian Wilman, who contributed defensively when big men Billy Hirschfeld and Kevin LeRoy procured early fouls.
Hirschfeld finished with 10 points, as well.
Arrowhead 67, Homestead 59
A 9-0 run in the fourth quarter helped Arrowhead take control of the nonconference battle Saturday against one of the top teams in the North Shore. Ricky Finco scored 15 points and 7 rebounds, hitting a trio of 3-pointers, and Kenny Finco added 12 points.
For Kenny, it marked a bit of a breakout. The team's returning leading scorer hadn't hit double figures yet this season, but he scored all his points in the second half.
"He's our returning leading scorer, so you're looking for him to score baskets," Haase said when asked if there was concern. "When that doesn't happen, there's some obvious concern, but he's a good player and it's going to happen. That's a turning point for him and he'll get on a roll here,
"I don't think we are where we can be, especially offensively. We haven't shot the ball the way we're capable of shooting the ball because we haven't had as many reps."
The team held Homestead big man Luke Worthington to 13 points.
"Homestead's a really good team; their schedule has been brutally tough," Haase said. "That's a team that's going to win a lot of games. They're in our sectional, so we may have to face them again."
Arrowhead 65, Catholic Memorial 56
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