McCutcheon holds off CC rally

McCutcheon holds off CC rally


McCutcheon holds off CC rally


Haden Deaton sensed his team’s lethargic offense and knew Central Catholic had all the momentum.

Deaton’s aggressiveness seized it as the McCutcheon sophomore scored seven points in the final quarter to help the Mavericks survive a second half rally by CC, 52-50 at McHale Gymnasium.

“At the start of the second half, we kind of got sloppy,” Deaton said. “I knew we needed to get to the basket and score. We were stalling on offense and I took that opportunity to get to the rim.”

The county rivalry game lived up to the hype but it took Luke Fusiek seemingly scoring every time he touched the ball to make it happen.

The Knights overcame an 18-point deficit to have a final shot for the win. Ben Tharp’s long 3-pointer was off the mark.

While the final moments were intense, the first half was anything but.

McCutcheon took advantage of CC’s nine first quarter turnovers to jump out to a 16-2 lead and Darnell Butler, who finished 7-for-7 from the field, knocked down three 3-pointers in the second quarter as the Mavericks led 35-17 at the break.

“They were finding me in the right spots at the right time,” said Butler, who finished with a team-high 19 points. “I was just getting open and knocking down shots.”

Fusiek’s fury cut the lead to four by the end of the third quarter. The CC junior guard hit four 3s during his 14-point third period and finished with 24 points. He was 8 of 9 from the field.

His hot streak rubbed off on the rest of the team as Michael Vukas knocked down a trey from the corner, followed by Avery Denhart’s 3 early in the fourth to tie the game at 42.

“For some reason in the first half, we just played scared, especially the first four or five minutes,” CC coach Dave Barrett said. “We were throwing it right to them. I told them at halftime that we can’t play scared. We started to attack and once we hit a few, everybody got their confidence and a lot of guys stepped up.”

That’s when Deaton responded.

With 5:42 left, he was fouled going to the basket and scored a conventional three-point play. Two minutes later, he again scored going to the basket to put his team up six.

Still, the Knights rallied back. Tharp’s 3 with 52.6 seconds left cut the lead to 52-50. After a missed free throw on the other end, Michael Vukas went to the basket but was blocked. Another missed free throw gave CC one last ditch effort.

“Give them credit, they never quit and I told the kids at halftime they wouldn’t,” McCutcheon coach Rick Peckinpaugh said. “They were down 25 or 30 to Roncalli Saturday and got within four. I told our kids that, but for some reason we didn’t quite take that to heart and didn’t play as hard.”

McCutcheon (18-3) won its eighth straight while CC (10-8) dropped its sixth in the last nine games.

The Mavericks got 15 points from Deaton and 13 from seniot Tre’Shon Heard. McCutcheon improved to 16-0 with Butler in the lineup. The junior forward missed five games with an ankle injury earlier this season.

“It’s big to have him back in this lineup and we haven’t lost with him,” Deaton said of Butler. “He is a big part of this team.”


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