Central catholic boys basketball stuns labrae to reach regional finals – sports – the independent – massillon, oh best steak to buy at the grocery store

The crusaders defeated labrae 39-36 at the memorial field house to advance to their first regional final game in school history. Central catholic head coach matt creamer also recorded his 400th career win.

CANTON central catholic did everything right in the closing seconds. It didn’t make those moments any less stressful for the players, coaches or fans at the memorial field house on wednesday in a division III regional semifinal game.

The crusaders double-teamed labrae post tyler stephens as he received the inbound pass with just 3.8 seconds left on the clock and the vikings trailing 39-36. Stephens used his 6-foot-5 frame to heave a shot over both defenders as the entire venue held its breath.Memorial field

"I was one of the guys on him," central catholic senior stone sirpilla said. "We saw the shot go up and I honestly wasn’t sure what was going to happen with it.

For a couple of moments from my perspective, I thought it might be good."

The high-arcing shot looked to be on line but landed short of the basket as the crusaders held on for the victory, earning their first trip to the regional finals in school history. And they did it by eliminating a team came into the game with a record of 24-1.

"When I saw the shot fell short, I just started running," sirpilla said. "It was just a big burst of excitement. I don’t know that I can put it into words."

Sirpilla said

Sirpilla let his play speak loudest much of the night. The senior made three 3-pointers and scored a team-high 12 points. He also grabbed four rebounds.

"This is just a surreal experience," sirpilla said. "It’s just a great feeling to be part of a group that is going to the regional finals for the first time."

The first regional final appearance was the biggest milestone to come out of the game against labrae but it wasn’t the only one. Central catholic head coach matt creamer earned his 400th career victory in style.

"The kids ran over to me after the buzzer sounded and said, ‘coach, here’s your 400th win,’ " creamer said. "I told them this game was bigger than that.Memorial field it’s bigger than me. It’s about these kids. We don’t have any magic spells. There is no secret recipe. It’s all these kids."

Being part of the team that was able to secure the 400th win for creamer was a major motivator for the nine seniors on the central catholic roster.

"We wanted that," sirpilla said. "We talked about that as a group. Coach means so much to us and we all agreed that we wanted to be on the team that got him his 400th win."

"(assistant) coach (aaron) shaffer came up to me at halftime and challenged me," shepard said. "He told me that he had seen me play better. That really motivated me and I was able to respond with a better second half."

Sirpilla said

Keeping the high-powered vikings from scoring was just as important as making baskets for the crusaders. The vikings have scored at least 70 points in half of their games this year and eclipsed 100 points in a game earlier this season.

Stephens was held to 11 points, well below his average of 18 points per game. Aaron iler hit two 3-pointers and scored a team-high 14 points. No other viking managed more than five points.

"We defended well," creamer said. "We ran a trickle zone on stephens and (logan) kiser in the middle and that seemed to make things tough on them. We saw it was giving them trouble so we kept it up."

While the crusader defense seemed to swallow labrae whole, central seemed to have minimal issues dealing with the vaunted viking full-court press.Field house the crusaders at times found ways to turn labrae’s aggressiveness against itself and generate easy looks in the paint.

"That was a big point of emphasis by coach creamer all week in practice," shepard said. "I think we handled it well. We were ready for what they were going to throw at us."

On saturday, central will have another chance to make history when it plays lutheran east at 7 p.M. At the memorial field house. The winner will advance to next week’s state semifinals.