When DeWitt made a run at Lansing Catholic, the Cougars responded to give themselves a big nonleague victory on Tuesday night.
Senior Dillon Rush had 22 points, including 16 in the first half, as Lansing Catholic beat the Panthers 66-56.
Lansing Catholic (9-4) held a comfortable lead until the beginning of the fourth quarter, when DeWitt (10-4) crawled to within two points thanks to one of five second half 3-pointers from senior guard Andrew Rogoszewski and four quick points from senior guard Ryan Anderson.
Then the Cougars countered, with a 6-0 spurt that extended the lead back to eight. DeWitt got no closer than six points the rest of the way.
“They came out and basically erased our leadn,” Lansing Catholic coach Darren Zwick said. “They went on probably a seven- or eight- point run and cut it to two and then we responded. We took a timeout and we settled our guys down and then we punched back.”
Turnovers, a few empty possessions and no second opportunities on shots doomed DeWitt down the stretch.
“We did a couple of things offensively to help us get a couple looks there,” DeWitt coach Ron Marlan said of the run. “They made a little adjustment and took that away and our biggest problem was not getting very many second shots. We had a hard time doing things with their size.”
The bulk of that size was the Poljan brothers. Freshman Tony Poljan scored 17 points for Lansing Catholic while the Cougars also used 6-foot-8 junior David Poljan in the paint.
Anderson entered the game as one of the leading scorers in mid-Michigan, but only had 11 points for the Panthers.
“We knew we needed to take him out of the offense. If we could limit his opportunities, that would put us in a good position to win, so we really focused our zone on that,” Zwick said. “We play that 2-3 zone, but we really needed to modify it to make sure we knew where he was at and limit his touches — and when he did catch it, make sure that we had one or two guys there to take away his looks and force the basketball to somebody else in their offense.”
The Lansing Catholic zone rotated over well to get out to Anderson behind the arc, allowing just one 3-pointer and four field goals.
“That was definitely our game plan to shut him down,” Rush said. “We kind of shaded him wherever he was, talking non-stop.”
“Teams are going to start doing that to him,” Marlan said of Anderson. “He’s the last one they’re going to be talking about coming out of the locker room and he’s a phenomenal player, so they should be. … Ryan draws a lot of attention and that opens up opportunities for other kids.”
Rogoszewski had 17 points to pace DeWitt, who will take on Owosso on Friday night for sole possession of the CAAC Red lead.
Senior Ryan Bennett added 10 points for the Panthers while sophomore Matthew Fata chipped in with 10 points for Lansing Catholic.