Class 4A No. 7 Indianapolis Cathedral entered the Class 4A Seymour Semistate on Saturday evening at Scott Gym as one of the hottest teams in Indiana.
And the Jeffersonville Red Devils found out the hard way why the Fighting Irish have been on a roll as of late.
Cathedral (25-5) extended its winning streak to 19 games with a 74-53 victory over Jeff to capture its third semistate championship in program history. The Fighting Irish will face top-ranked and defending state champion Carmel (24-2) in the Class 4A state championship game next Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The Greyhounds defeated Merrillville (22-4) in the Class 4A Lafayette Jeff Semistate on Saturday, 66-36.
The Red Devils, who ranked 11th in scoring in the state heading into the semistate, recorded a season-low with 53 points. The 21-point final margin was Jeff’s largest deficit of the season.
“Cathedral is awfully good in the half-court and awfully big,” Red Devils’ coach Chad Gilbert said. “I thought we did a pretty good job defending their guys on the perimeter. We just let it get away from us.”
Jeff shot 21-of-48 from the field (43.8 percent), including 9-of-27 in the second half (33.3 percent). The smaller Red Devils, whose tallest player was 6-foot-3, had a difficult time shooting over an Irish squad that had several players who stood at least 6-5.
“They were a good defensive team,” Jeff junior Drew Ellis said. “They always denied us the ball. It was hard to get into our offensive sets.”
The Fighting Irish’s size definitely made a difference on the backboards. Cathedral outrebounded the Red Devils, who finished the season at 24-4, by a 41-25 margin and grabbed several boards off the offensive glass.
“They were big on the boards,” Ellis said. “It’s hard to stop 6-8 guys when we are only 6-2 and 6-3. They did a nice job on the boards and the credit goes to them.”
Cathedral coach Andy Fagan has stressed rebounding to his team all year, and the Irish definitely practiced what he preached on Saturday.
“That’s something that is kind of a constant with us,” Fagan said. “We have guys every day killing the glass, and our guys made a concerted effort at both ends.”
Another huge factor in the contest was bench scoring. The Fighting Irish reserves outscored Jeff’s bench, 26-6. In the first half alone, Cathedral’s pine players had 17 points, while the Red Devil reserves were scoreless.
Senior forward Josh Sullen and 6-8 senior center Devin Dixon compiled all of the Fighting Irish’s bench points, as each player scored 13. They also got the job on the glass with Dixon grabbing a team-high eight rebounds and Sullen collecting six boards.
“Our depth has been one of our biggest advantages against other teams all year,” Fagan said. “We go nine or 10 guys deep. We got off to a slow start and our bench came in and gave us that lift, guys like Devin Dixon, Josh Sullen and Matt Gregory.”
Cathedral also had a decisive advantage at the free-throw line, as it ended up making 11 more free throws than the Red Devils attempted. The Irish were 20-of-25 from the stripe (80 percent), while Jeff made 7-of-9 foul shots (77.8 percent).
The Red Devils got off to a fast start. They hit seven of their first eight shots to take a 17-7 lead with about three minutes left in the opening quarter. That would be Jeff’s largest lead.
With the Devils up 20-14 at the end of the first period, Cathedral outscored them in the second 23-11 to take a 37-31 advantage at halftime.
“We knew there were going to be runs. We knew there were going to be highs and going to be lows,” Gilbert said. “We were just trying to deal with the runs that Cathedral was going to throw at us. They did a really good job on the offensive glass. I thought that really killed us in the first half. Second-chance points were one thing we were worried about coming in.”
Jeff only trailed 43-39 with about two minutes remaining in the third quarter. But the Irish scored the final seven points of the stanza to go up 50-39. The Red Devils would not get any closer to Cathedral in the fourth, as the Irish outscored them in the final period, 24-14.
“We had a couple of chances in the second half where we had some good shots. We just didn’t get them to go down,” Gilbert said. “When you are playing one of the best four teams in the state, you’ve got to take advantage of stuff like that and that’s what happened tonight.”
Cathedral did a great job of defending Jeff senior guard Darryl Baker in the second half. The Indiana All-Star candidate only scored two points in the final 16 minutes and missed his last 10 shots of the game.
Baker finished with 13 points, breaking Jeff’s single-season scoring record that was previously set by former Red Devil star Paris Bryant during the 1987-88 season. Baker completed a double-double with a game-high 10 rebounds, along with game-highs in steals (five) and assists (four).
“We got stuff geared for Darryl and he got good shots. They just didn’t go down. That’s the way it is sometimes,” Gilbert said.
Ellis paced Jeff with 14 points, while teammate Keenan Williams had 13.
Despite shooting 4-of-16 from the floor, sophomore guard Jalen Coleman led Cathedral with 14 points. Irish senior forward and Indiana University signee Collin Hartman tallied 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Cathedral junior Collin Barthel had 11 points, while teammate Garrett Hall chipped in nine.
Jeff says goodbye to four seniors in Baker, Jacquari Chandler, Devin Shackleford and Kortrell White.
CLASS 4A SEYMOUR SEMISTATE
INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL 74, JEFFERSONVILLE 53
Jeffersonville 20 11 8 14—53
Cathedral 14 23 13 24—74
Jeffersonville (24-4): Drew Ellis 5-7 3-3 14, Darryl Baker 6-21 0-1 13, Keenan Williams 5-7 2-3 13, Jacquari Chandler 2-5 2-2 7, Devin Shackleford 2-4 0-0 4, Leonard Kwitonda 1-1 0-0 2, Troy Avery 0-0 0-0 0, Chandler Dale 0-0 0-0 0, Myles Harvey 0-1 0-0 0, JC Kinnaird 0-0 0-0 0, Tyrise Major 0-0 0-0 0, Kortrell White 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-48 7-9 53.
Cathedral (25-5): Jalen Coleman 4-16 3-3 14, Devin Dixon 6-10 1-2 13, Josh Sullen 5-8 2-4 13, Collin Hartman 4-9 2-2 12, Collin Barthel 2-3 7-8 11, Garrett Hall 3-6 3-4 9, Tiernan Cook 0-4 2-2 2, Matt Gregory 0-1 0-0 0, Omar Robinson 0-0 0-0 0, Jared Thomas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-57 20-25 74.
3-point field goals: Jeffersonville 4-13 (Chandler 1-1, Williams 1-1, Ellis 1-3, Baker 1-6, Harvey 0-1, White 0-1); Cathedral 6-24 (Coleman 3-11, Hartman 2-6, Sullen 1-2, Hall 0-2, Cook 0-3).
Rebounds: Jeffersonville 25 (Baker 10); Cathedral 41 (Dixon 8, Hartman 8).
Assists: Jeffersonville 9 (Baker 4); Cathedral 9 (Hall 2, Hartman 2, Sullen 2).
Steals: Jeffersonville 12 (Baker 5); Cathedral 6 (Cook 2).
Turnovers: Jeffersonville 15, Cathedral 13.
Total fouls: Jeffersonville 22, Cathedral 13.
Fouled out: Chandler (J), Harvey (J).