Southview's Jimmy Hall tries to split a pair of Columbus Brookhaven defenders last night at the Sullivan Center.
It didn't take long for the Southview basketball team to create the kind of excitement indoors that its football team did outdoors.
Exactly a week after the Cougars were crowned Division II state football champions, Southview tipped off what is expected to be a promising basketball campaign.
Yet, Columbus Brookhaven spoiled the Cougars' season opener by escaping with an 82-81 victory in a NWO Prep Sports Showcase last night at Central Catholic.
Central Catholic outscored South Bend (Ind.) St. Joseph's 26-8 in the fourth quarter en route to a decisive 56-39 victory in Jim Welling's debut as the Irish coach in the first game.
Robert Holloway put back anoffensive rebound of a missed shot by Terrance Watkins to give Brookhaven the go-ahead basket with 9.2 seconds remaining in the nightcap.
Southview's opportunity to pull out a win in the final seconds was slightly off the mark when Andy Borchert's wide-open jump shot from 19 feet bounced off the rim just before time expired.
The two matchups were the first two of six scheduled to take place during the inaugural two-day tournament at Central. Four games are scheduled for today beginning at 1:30.
Tim Hausfeld led five Cougars in double figures with 23 points.
Bernard Pinckney chipped in with 18 points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. Shaun Joplin added 12 points, including two rim-rattling dunks, while Jimmy Hall and Allen Gant scored 10 apiece.
But the Cougars' balanced attack, which came from five players who were key members of the football team, wasn't quite enough against the Bearcats.
"I thought there were a lot of things we did well tonight but there were a lot of things we need a lot of practice at," said Southview coach Marc Jump, who has had only four days of practice with his full team due to Southview's football playoff run. "I thought we gave up an undue amount of offensive rebounds to Brookhaven tonight. I thought they took us right to the rim and I didn't think our defense was solid."
Watkins pumped in a game-high 32 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Bearcats. Craig Sealey also scored in double figures for Brookhaven with 16 points.
"We were able to pull it out at the end," Brookhaven coach Hali Robinson said. "We had to make stops. We had to make free throws and that is something we pride ourselves on is making free throws down the stretch."
For the game, Brookhaven made 21 of 29 foul shots while Southview made 13 of 17.
HUNTLEY SPARKS IRISH: In Central's triumph, Bruce Huntley scored eight of his game-high 13 points in the final period. Blair Hueston chipped in with 10 points and Doug Williams added nine.
Welling, who experienced plenty of success at Owens Community College, commended the Irish for the solid effort.
"I thought we did a nice job of regrouping after three quarters," Welling said. "Our captains stepped up and our seniors stepped up."
Andrew Vasquez paced the Indians with 10 points.
The Irish trailed 31-30 after three quarters before going on a 16-5 run to start the fourth. The Irish made 16 of 21 foul shots during the final quarter.
"Right now we're still tinkering with who plays together and what are our rotations," Welling said. "We still have to step it up another notch because we have some really good competition coming in this week into the Sullivan."
Central plays host to City League rival St. John's Jesuit on Friday.
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