Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

BREAKING: Catholic Central sends Faith boys home, again

by Mike Ramczyk

March 03, 2011

Burlington -- It could the experience. Or the numbers. Or some kind of gypsy curse.

Whatever the reason, the Faith Christian boys basketball squad simply can't find a way to beat Burlington Catholic Central.

Friday night, in a WIAA Division 5 regional semifinal at Catholic Central, the Hilltoppers ended Faith's season for the second straight year and the sixth time in the last eight years with a convincing 65-46 triumph. Faith finished the season with a 13-9 overall record.

For the game, Catholic Central buried 10 three-pointers. Experience played a big factor for the Hilltoppers, who started five seniors and had 11 total. Faith doesn't have any seniors and started two freshmen and two sophomores.

Faith trailed, 30-26, at halftime, but the Hilltoppers knocked down three triples in the third quarter to open up a 48-35 lead heading into the fourth. Faith coach Brian Pollard said the second half is what killed his team.

"Alex Montsma picked up his fourth foul early in the third, and it ruined our rotation," he said. "They hit a couple threes, and the next thing you know, we were down by 12 points. In the first half, we did a good job of screening and taking it to the basket. In the second half, our legs got a little tired and mentally we got a little weak. A lot of that is our experience. They rotate eight or nine guys, and we ran out of gas. They put a lot of pressure on us. When they sub, they don't go down in ability."

Faith held a 22-21 lead with about five minutes left in the first half, but Catholic Central closed the half with a 9-4 run. After hot shooting in the third quarter from Catholic Central, Faith made one last run. The Eagles opened the fourth quarter with a 7-2 run capped off by Adam Montsma's three-point play, which cut the Catholic Central lead to 50-42.

However, the Hilltoppers turned up the intensity on defense, forcing two turnovers and scoring on a three-point bucket and a three-point play to open up a 58-42 advantage. With only a couple minutes remaining in the contest, it was too late for Faith.

Adam Montsma paced the Eagles with 17 points, and junior Ben Sass added 10. For the Hilltoppers, four players scored in double figures, led by Nick Uhen's 18.

"We knew this was a big game," Adam Montsma said. "We took it to them in the first half, but they hit their threes and got easy layups in the second half. We hung in there in the fourth, but they pulled away. They're obviously good at defense. They pressured us a lot."

Faith played a 2-3 zone defense, and Catholic Central was able to hit shots over it all game.

"We knew they could shoot, but we knew they were more physical and quicker than us," Pollard said. "For two quarters, we did a good job. But in the third, Uhen hit three triples for them. That's really what broke it open for them. We did everything we could in this game, but they were just a better team than us."

For the season, Faith took second in the Indian Trails Conference and won five more games than last year.

"Our goal this year was to be at the top of conference and win a regional game, and we did both," Pollard said. "I was proud of our effort tonight. The next two years, the sky's the limit as far as what we will be able to do."

Adam Montsma already is looking forward to next year.

"I enjoyed playing with the guys this year," he said. "We're a young team, and we'll be good next year."

Faith's starting five of Sass, Adam and Alex Montsma, and freshmen Jared Mulder and Joe Ingersoll will all return next season.

Check Wednesday's Regional News for photos from the game.

Other area scores

Girls basketball

Burlington 47, Badger 44

Union Grove 48, Delavan-Darien 22

Westosha Central 56, Waterford 45

Boys basketball playoffs

(6) Delavan-Darien 70, (2) Elkhorn 65

(1) Waterford 77, (5) Wilmot 55

(2) East Troy 75, (7) University School 49