After getting whipped on the boards and struggling to make a shot for the first 14 minutes, Central Catholic’s boys basketball team might have tolerated a six-point halftime deficit Friday against Twin Lakes.
Pete Metzinger decided to provide a spark anyway, and Mitch Witteveen picked up where his teammate left off after halftime. Those senior guards ignited a half-straddling surge that pushed Class A No. 3 Central Catholic to a 63-59 victory over the Indians at McHale Gymnasium.
Witteveen and Metzinger scored 14 points apiece for the Knights, who rallied from a 26-19 deficit late in the first half for a Hoosier Conference victory.
“We were hoping to get something going before the end of the half, but things didn’t go our way,” Witteveen said. “Coach (Dave Barrett) drew up some plays before the second half to counter what they we doing. We came out, did what we needed to do and jumped out to a quick lead.”
Twin Lakes senior Jordan Crouch came off the bench to post career highs of 13 points and 14 rebounds. His second-quarter work on the offensive boards helped propel the Indians (2-3) to a seven-point lead with 92 seconds left in the first half.
But Metzinger hit a 3 to pull Central Catholic within 26-23 going to halftime, and Witteveen scored four straight points to open the second half. He scored 12 second-half points to push the CC lead as high as nine, and hit 6 of 6 free throws in the final 42.8 seconds.
“That’s definitely a big game-changer,” said CC senior center Nick Thompson, who posted 11 points and nine rebounds, of Metzinger’s 3. “Going into halftime with a one-possession game instead of a two-possession game really changed our mindset to, ‘We can get back in this and we can win this game.’ “
Twin Lakes coach Kent Adams said he hoped seniors Levi Pritts and Cody DeBoy would offset CC big men Thompson and Hayes Cronk. Instead, they combined for six rebounds while Crouch, a senior making his first big varsity contribution, grabbed seven rebounds in the second quarter and seven more in the fourth, totaling seven offensive boards.
The Indians hit four 3s in the fourth quarter, including one in the final seconds to cap Cameron Bennington’s 19-point night. Twin Lakes might have avoided a three-game losing streak if not for turnovers (17), free throw shooting (10 of 19) and that lull to end the first half and begin the second.
“The three at the end of the half and then the six points in the second half just killed us,” Crouch said.
“… We call it brotherhood. We have to get on the same page and just focus — come out with the mindset that we’re going to win.”
Off the CC bench, Jackson Anthrop scored 12 points and Joe Smith contributed six points, four rebounds and two assists. The Knights, who came into the game shooting 61.5 percent on free throws, made 14 of 17 in the second half.
“Halftime came and we were down three, and we really wanted to come out and win every home game, so that had to change,” Thompson said. “We made sure we were fired up in the locker room and came out strong.”