Bay Rockets can’t keep up pace with Cleveland Central Catholic Ironmen in semifinal

WESTLAKE — For one quarter, Bay was able to hold its own against the frenetic pace of Cleveland Central Catholic’s “organized chaos” style of basketball.

Unfortunately for the Rockets, it wasn’t enough.

Bay’s season came to an end Wednesday night, after falling to the Ironmen 65-55 in the Division II Westlake District Semifinals.

“It just seems that when Central wants to turn it up, they can turn it up,” Bay coach Jason Frolo said. “They turned it up once they knew they were going to be in a little bit of a ball game.”

After falling behind 5-0 early, the first quarter became the “Ben Chase Show”, as the Bay senior scored 11 of his team’s 13 first quarter points to give his team a 13-11 edge after one. Soon after, though, the Rockets seemed to run out of gas.

In the second quarter, Central Catholic went on an 8-0 run that gave them a nine-point lead and cap off a quarter where they scored 24 points, thanks, largely, to a full-court press that turned into a number of transition baskets for the Ironmen.

“We feel that if we keep it on long enough, we can break them,” Central Catholic coach Johnathan Harris said. “Teams will figure it out at first, but you’ve got to continue to play at that pace, and not everybody can play at that pace for long periods of time. Bay went faster than I expected. I honestly thought it wouldn’t happen until the third quarter.”

The rest of the game Bay gave the Ironmen everything they could, but weren’t quite able to catch them.

“We were in position. The frustrating thing is we were in position and could never make that one play to put us over,” Frolo said.

The Rockets were led by the senior tandem of Chase and six-foot-six center Scott Rapps. Chase finished the game with 23 points, shooting 4 of 5 from 3-point range.

Rapps scored 17 points while pulling down six rebounds for the Rockets.

While Bay may have had the height advantage inside, with Rapps, the Ironmen certainly had the advantage athletically.

“Turnovers, missed buckets inside, not coming up with loose balls and rebounds, those things made the difference against a quick athletic team like that,” Frolo said. “You need those things to win a game against a team that has better, quicker athletes that can out jump you.”

The Rockets didn’t give up, and kept the game relatively close most of the second half, but at times, the game turned into a chaotic mess with both teams turning the ball over and seemingly playing out of control.

It was all part of Central Catholic’s plan.

“You’re going to have all of that when the game is played at a sporadic pace,” Harris said. “I’m going to be honest; we don’t mind that. We talk about causing a lot of havoc, a kind of organized chaos. We know that the teams we play don’t want to do that.”

The teams combined for 43 turnovers and 45 rebounds, as both sides sprinted up and down the court nearly the entire game.

Central Catholic was led by Chelvonte Montgomery’s 15 points. Antwon Lillard added another 12.

With the win, Central Catholic advances to the district final Friday night at Westlake High School.

Bay ends their season with a record of 12-13, but Frolo said his team has a lot to be proud of, including a five-game win streak down the stretch.

“It’s a shame that this has to end the season, but we played well at the end of the season,” he said. “We persevered through adversity. After losing seven in a row, we came back to win five straight and make a run here in the tournament.

“I’m just proud of how we stuck together throughout what could have been a disastrous season.”

@sm_mahoney

Last Updated: 3/6/2013 11:41:47 PM EST

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