Jim Robinson knew his team would be outmanned in Game 2 of The Blade High School Basketball Classic at the Huntington Center Monday, but that didn't take away from his and his players' enjoyment of competing on a bigger stage.
Robinson and the Maumee Valley Country Day boys basketball team suffered a 77-46 defeat at the hands of Central Catholic, which led for the entire contest and had four players in double figures.
"Central is very, very good, and I think we're pretty good too," Robinson said. "All in all, it was a positive experience for us, if you can take a 30-point loss positively, and I think we can. We learned some things out there today."
Senior guard Dareon Jones scored nine points in the first quarter to lead the Irish with 18 points. Sophomore forward Deontae Cole added 14 points, while senior guard Drew Lehman had 12 and sophomore guard Cliff Busseu 11.
Junior guard Frederick Deichert led Maumee Valley with 13 points.
"Both teams played hard," Central coach Jim Welling said. "We have a little bit more depth than what Maumee Valley does, but both teams competed. It's nice to have competition over the holidays."
Central exploded with an 11-2 surge to start the game, but once the Hawks settled in, they answered with a 6-0 run and trailed 17-12 at the end of the first quarter.
The Irish soon put any upset hopes to rest, putting together a 10-2 run at the outset of the second quarter. They went into halftime ahead 40-19 after outscoring Maumee Valley 23-7 in the period.
"I thought we could have competed a little harder in the second quarter, but we were a little gassed," Robinson said. "Overall, the athleticism and the speed are different than what we play, but I feel that if you don't play on the big stage, you can't learn to play on the big stage. I would definitely do it again."
Central continued to pull away in the second half, outscoring the Hawks 21-15 in the third quarter and 16-12 in the fourth.
"Coach told us not to underestimate our opponent and to play as if it were a Final Four game," Busseu said. "This gives us a lot of momentum, playing out here on this beautiful court and in this beautiful facility. When we play like this and get a W like this, it boosts the confidence of our entire team."
Contact Zach Silka at: email@example.com or 419-724-6084.