After grinding out a win over conference rival Pioneer Friday night, Caston’s boys basketball team turned its attention to Faith Christian, the second opponent in a weekend twinbill Saturday night.
The Eagles made the trip from Lafayette riding a three-game winning streak, with hopes of garnering their first ever victory over the Comets. In only their second season of IHSAA tournament eligibility, fourth-year coach Clayton Callan is trying to recapture his success from the 2011-12 season, where the Eagles went a respectable 12-8.
The weather outside was still frightful, but the shooting Saturday night was much more delightful. Caston used a second quarter surge and a solid defensive effort to put away Faith Christian, 62-46.
The Comets got a positive sign from the start, as junior Dustin Offenberger connected from the arc. Brayton Jellison followed with a 3 of his own, and the Comets seemed to conveniently forget their shooting woes from Friday.
Junior Matt Rumpke showed nice post moves and scored on consecutive hoops to draw the Eagles to within one. Cam Berning scored with 5 seconds remaining to give Faith Christian its only lead of the game at 11-10.
Jake Kingery nailed a corner 3 to start the second period, which started the key run in the game. Senior Quentin Douglass took a Vernon Ford charge just seconds later, which led to another big trey by Jellison. Offenberger followed his own missed 3, and scored on the stickback and-one. Alex Howdeshell’s two free throws completed the 11-0 surge.
Christian Anderson’s pullup jumper in the lane cut the lead back to three at the 2:20 mark. The Comets took advantage of open perimeter shots and finished the half strong behind consecutive 3s by Eli Douglass and Jellison, giving the Comets a 29-21 lead at the break.
Spending much of the first half distributing to teammates, point guard Quentin Douglass began attacking the lane in the third. He scored off a Kingery feed off the baseline to extend the lead to 10 and had eight points in the quarter. Another Offenberger 3, followed by Howdeshell’s putback put Caston up by 13 mid-way through. Berning also had a big quarter, hitting two 3s and a layup, keeping the Eagles in the game. He finished with a game-high 22 points.
Offenberger continued to cause damage in the fourth, connecting again from outside. He finished with a team-high 19 points. Jellison followed with 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Comets shot 45 percent from the field, including 47 from three-point range.
“I thought we had great energy and focus this morning at the walk-through,” said Caston coach J.R. Howell. “We executed well the last three quarters, and I’m proud of how hard we played.”
The Comets (9-6), who have won five of six, travel to Argos on Friday.
- Jason Herd
Cass 109, Clinton C. 74
The Kings had six players in double figures as they eclipsed the century mark in Walton en route to their seventh straight win.
Austin Keisling scored 25 to lead Cass (9-2), followed by Ryan Bixler (16), Owen Ohman (15), Blake Hadley (14), Evan Ohman (12) and Jake Martin (11).
The Kings shot 35 for 71 from the field, including 11 of 29 from 3-point range and 26 of 35 from the foul line. They also outrebounded the Bulldogs 38-23.
The Kings led 27-15 after one quarter, 53-33 at the half and 89-54 after three.
“We got up and down the floor and scored a lot of points,” Cass coach Jon Kitchel said. “They handled our press pretty well, that’s why they scored 74. But they had trouble defending us. It was an up and down game with a lot of possessions.”
Jake Burton scored 17 points to lead the Bulldogs (2-10), and Cole Simmons had 13.
Cass hosts Peru Friday.
Rossville 50, Pioneer 34
The Panthers trailed just 18-16 at halftime before the Hornets pulled away in the second half.
“Defensively, I was pretty happy with our first half,” Pioneer coach Austin Cowley said. “In the second half Rossville got some shots to fall. They were cold in the first half. Defensively we did a decent job. Our transition defense hurt us at the end of the first half.”
Zach Mason led the Panthers (1-11) with 12 points. He finished with 30 for the weekend after scoring 18 at Caston Friday.
“A 30-point weekend, we’re happy with that,” Cowley said. “Credit Rossville for taking us out of our game plan of getting the ball in the post in the second half.”
Brandon Tonsoni led the Hornets (9-3) with 17 points.
Both the Panthers showed good signs in playing Rossville close for a half after a five-point loss at Caston Friday.
“We took away a lot of positive things to build on,” Cowley said. “We’re finding who to go to offensively. Against Caston in a conference and rivalry game you’ll never have a hard time of showing up and competing. We just have to do the little things better, whether that’s going after loose balls or offensive rebounds or turnovers. We had a lowest turnover weekend of the season. We had 12 last night and 15 tonight.”
Pioneer travels to West Central Tuesday.
Caston had two wrestlers advance on Saturday.
Efrain Ameziquita placed third in the 120-pound weight class, and Jacob Maroney placed fourth at 106.
Peru repeated as team champions with 270.5 points. Maconaquah was runner-up (221.5), and Southwood was third (168).
The Tigers had six individual champions, led by Evan Loe (145), who became a four-time sectional champ and moved to 39-2 on the season. Other champions were Shane Garretson (106), Connor Quin (120), Peyton Sturgill (138), Danny Fisher (170) and Erik Hobbs (220).
West Central won the event with 243 points Wednesday in Monon. The Trojans were followed by host North White (226), Winamac (125), South Newton (117), Caston (51), Frontier (51) and Pioneer (26).
Winamac junior Gage Garpow won the MWC title in the 170-pound weight class.
Caston sophomore Jacob Maroney was the champ in the 106-pound weight class.
Caston 40, Faith Christian 25
Marli Leazenby and Mickayla Rans scored 10 points apiece to lead the Comets in Fulton. Anna Brown added nine points and Jaycee Denton chipped in five.
The Comets led just 12-10 at halftime before outscoring the Eagles 15-1 in the decisive third quarter for a 27-11 lead.
The Comets (11-5), who won their fourth straight game, travel to North White on Monday.