Dragons fall in home opener to Cathedral Prep
The Warren boys basketball team started hot in its home opener against Erie Cathedral Prep Wednesday, but cooled quickly and the Ramblers came away with a 62-34 win over the Dragons.
Warren (2-2) connected on five of its first six shots from the field, then went 2-15 for the remainder of the first half.
“We have to knock down shots,” Warren coach Jeff Berdine said. “And defensively we have to get stops.
The Ramblers (1-2) missed their first three shots and fell behind early. They connected on their next six to take their first lead of the game, 14-12, with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter. Prep wouldn’t trail again.
Prep swarmed Warren defensively and applied pressure in half court sets to force turnovers. The Ramblers took advantage of both the turnovers and defensive rebounds to get quick transition points and take a 19-15 lead into the second quarter.
“We had 20 turnovers,” Berdine said. “Our guards are turning it over way too much. Teams are going to make us play this style until we can prove we’re not going to panic with the ball.”
The Dragons were overmatched on the glass as well as the Ramblers used their size advantage to grab nearly every loose ball.
“We just got killed on the glass,” Berdine said.
Those extra possessions early allowed Prep’s Michael Lucarotti to get open at the top of the key. Lucarotti scored eight of his 12 points in the first quarter.
“We knew he was going to be a tough matchup for us,” Berdine said. “Prep is a good shooting team. This is one of the better shooting teams they’ve had.”
Caleb Ei hit a pair of free throws in the second, and it looked like that might be the Dragons’ only points of the frame, but Devin McMeans knocked down a three with less than 10 seconds remaining in the half and the Ramblers led 43-20 at the half.
“We went from the final minute in the first quarter until the final seconds of the second without hitting a shot,” Berdine said.
Prep slowed the game down to start the second half and led 54-26 going into the fourth. Berdine was able to turn to some of his bench players in the fourth and liked what he saw.
“Tom (Bablak) and Ben (Berdine) bring a lot that we don’t have, especially size-wise,” he said. “Ryan (Rafalski) and Tyler (Gustafson) are really good defensively.”
Bablak and Berdine each hit a three in the fourth quarter and Rafalski went 1-2 from the line.
Alfonso Pickens led a trio of Ramblers in double digit scoring with a game-high 13 points. Lucarotti and Caden Elwell added 12 each.
Ei was the only Dragon in double figures with 11 points. Aidan Morrison added six and McMeans had five.
After playing four games in six days, the Dragons will get a chance to rest and apply lessons learned from these early season contests until Monday when they host St. Marys. The Dutch had a comeback win against the Dragons Monday.
“We owe St. Marys,” Berdine said.
Warren was a big winner in the junior varsity game, 57-32.
Ben Berdine led the way with 14 points, Rafalski and Bablak added nine each in the win.
– – –
Erie Cathedral Prep (62)
Pickens 6-0-0-13, Lucarotti 6-0-0-12, Elwell 2-8-9-12, Knox 3-1-2-7, Milsap 3-1-3-7, Corsale 2-2-3-6, Santillan 2-0-0-5, Kinecki 0-0-0-0, Eddy 0-0-0-0, Ruff 0-0-0-0, Rowane 0-0-0-0, Innes 0-0-0-0, Team 24-12-17-62
Ei 3-5-8-11, Morrison 2-1-2-6, McMeans 2-0-0-5, Kupchella 1-0-0-3, Berdine 1-0-0-3, Bablak 1-0-0-3, Grosch 1-0-0-2, Rafalski 0-1-2-1, Arnold 0-0-0-0, Funari 0-0-0-0, Gustafson 0-0-0-0, Swanson 0-0-0-0, Suppa 0-0-0-0, Team 11-7-12-34
Prep 19 24 11 8 – 62
Warren 15 5 6 8 – 34
3-point FGs: Prep (2)-Pickens, Santillan. Warren (5)-Morrison, Kupchella, McMeans, Berdine, Bablak.
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Colvin 1-0-0-2, Cooper 5-2-4-12, Noble 0-0-0-0, Lockett 1-0-0-2, Sambuchiho 0-0-0-0, Bridges 0-0-0-0, Abramczyk 1-0-2-2, Cizmak 0-0-0-0, Caryl 0-0-1-0, Lydic 2-0-1-4, Vincent-King 0-2-6-6, Fortin 0-0-0-0, Williams 1-0-2-2, Totals 14-4-17-32
R. Arnold 1-2-2-4, Rafalski 4-0-0-9, Berdine 6-1-2-14, Bablak 4-1-1-9, Gustafson 1-3-4-6, Hussey 0-1-2-1, Borger 0-0-0-0, B. Arnold 1-0-0-2, Morse 0-0-0-0, Swanson 2-0-0-4, Barnes 2-0-0-5, Vazquez 0-0-0-0, Salapek 0-3-4-3, Totals 21-11-15-57
Prep 6 12 10 4 – 32
Warren 21 15 13 8 – 57
Three-point FGs: Prep – None; Warren (4) – Rafalski, Berdine, Gustafson, Barnes