Photo courtesy of Mlive.com
With just about two months remaining in the high school basketball season, just four of the forty-two OK Conference teams entered Saturday with unblemished records (also Godwin Heights and Muskegon). Two of them, Grand Rapids Christian and Grand Rapids Catholic Central, faced off on Saturday night. In a packed gym at Catholic Central for a game between two former City League foes, the two schools played an extremely physical game, but the talent on the Eagles roster (three Division I prospects) was too much in the end as Christian prevailed 66-28.
In the first quarter, the Cougars appeared to feed off the energy of the crowd as they actually won the first eight minutes 10-8. It appeared that this Catholic Central team truly had the ability to hang with one of the best teams in the state.
Throughout the remainder of the contest, it got more physical, and that played to Grand Rapids Christian’s advantage. The size and physicality of their frontcourt of Division I players in Xavier Tillman (Michigan State) and James Beck (Oakland), was far too much for Catholic Central, and when they tossed the ball inside it opened up shots and lanes for Duane Washington to score.
Coming out of the locker room at halftime with a low scoring 27-15 game, it still appeared that either team had the moxie to win it, but coach Mark Warners must have delivered an incredible halftime speech because the Eagles simply responded with dominance. In the final sixteen minutes, Christian outscored Catholic 39-13.
With the win, Christian improves to 8-0 on the year. They were led tonight by Washington (24 points), Tillman (13 points), and Beck (13 points). The Eagles will have two games this week as they host Wyoming on Tuesday before hosting East Grand Rapids on Friday in two OK Gold games. For Catholic, they drop to 9-1 on the season. Jacob Polakovich led the Cougars with ten points. They will be back in action Tuesday when they travel to Coopersville, and then they will have Friday night off.