AP NEWS

Aquinas boys find shooting touch

January 17, 2019

The lid finally came off the hoop.

After struggling through a first half of the season with inconsistent aim, Aquinas Catholic boys basketball lit a fire on Saturday night at Lakeview in a 77-57 bounce-back win over the Vikings.

The Monarchs were beaten 59-40 by Class C-2 Utica Centennial the night before then proved to be deadly from long range less than 24 hours later and moved back above .500 for the second time this season and sit at 7-6 after the most recent win.

Two Monarchs scored in double figures led by Zach Zavodny’s 20, followed by 14 from Dan Stara, and 10 total Aquinas players made the score sheet in a win that equaled the team’s second-largest margin of victory for the year.

“This year we’ve kind of struggled scoring the ball. We always shoot the ball so well in practice, and I don’t understand why we don’t shoot well in the game. But it finally paid off,” coach Trevor Weiss said. “We finally came together and shot the ball really well tonight.”

Aquinas never made fewer than six shots in a quarter, hit 28 of 52 overall and was most deadly from long range where the Monarchs drilled 11 3-pointers and were a rather efficient 62 percent from long range.

“We didn’t have the intensity we wanted in the first quarter against GICC. We made it a goal to come out with that intensity in the second and third quarters we showed against GICC against Lakeview tonight,” Zavodny said.

“We have a lot of really good guards who can shoot the ball. We knew we could. We’ve been in a slump, and we’ve worked on it a lot in practice. It’s good to finally see it come to fruition for us.”

Zavodny had five of those triples and scored 15 of his game-high total in the first half setting a tone of up-and-down, run-and-shoot basketball Lakeview simply couldn’t match.

“My teammates did a good job finding me when I was open,” he said. “I was looking for my shot if I could find it. Once I got rolling, I was like, ’I’m finally back shooting the ball again.”

Nolan Hartman hit a two 3s, as did Dan Stara and Braden Smith, and Michael Rerucha and Jack Jakub added to the 3-point party.

Additionally, post players Rylan Chromy had eight points and Simon Krenk seven for an Aquinas attack that was as deadly, top to bottom, as it has been all year.

“Playing a really good team in GICC prepared us well for today,” Zavodny said. “Our schedule, in general, has prepared us well.

“We have a lot of guys who can score,” Zavodny said. “We show that in practice. We just haven’t been able to put it together in a game. Now that we’ve got it going, maybe we can keep it going all year.”

A track meet broke out right away in the first quarter with both teams exchanging scores until late when Aquinas scored 10 in a row and finished the first eight minutes with an 18-12 lead.

More back-and-forth followed in the second for a 34-25 Monarch lead at the break, and the third was much of the same but Aquinas hit four 3s in the quarter and took an 18-point 57-39 gap into the final eight minutes.

A robust 7 for 8 in the final frame finished it off.

“The kids are frustrated a little bit with their shots, but they know if their shots aren’t going down, we need to play defense,” Weiss said. “They’ve done that. We’ve played really good defense this year.

“But it’s good to have this game for us, to see the ball go through the basket like that.”

Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com