NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — Relieved following his team’s 65-58 double overtime win, Cleveland Central Catholic coach Jordan Duke joked his team’s Division II district semifinal vs. East Tech could be called, “the 2-mile classic.”
They just had to drive 25 miles west to North Ridgeville for it to happen.
In front of a loud and packed gym, it took everything in Central Catholic’s arsenal — including a triple-double with 10 blocks from 6-foot-8 senior Deshaun Nettles — to ensure it will return Saturday vs. Holy Name or Rocky River and defend its district championship.
“We literally know just about all of them,” Duke said of the fourth-seeded Scarabs (16-9). “Brett (Moore) is a hell of a coach. You’ve got to be ready to play whenever you step on the floor, and he’s coaching.”
The top-seeded Ironmen (18-6) found themselves in a down-to-the-wire district semifinal after four back-and-forth quarters. In that time, Central Catholic jumped out to a 22-13 lead until East Tech junior guard Marcos Vazquez fueled a 14-3 run into halftime. Behind Arthur Fayne and Nettles, Central Catholic regained a 41-33 lead in the fourth quarter.
They went into overtime tied at 45 after both teams missed a chance to win it.
In each overtime, Central Catholic senior point guard Tevin Jackson quickly made his way to the free-throw line. As a result, he finished with a game-high 18 points. His team shot 16-of-22 from the line in both overtimes, which prompted Duke to promise a celebratory pizza.
“Every day, probably more than a regular practice, we shoot free throws,” Jackson said. “We had a stretch where we weren’t doing so good, but to come out here and make free throws is amazing.”
Also amazing: the triple-double by Nettles. He finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. Nine of those blocks came in the second half and overtime.
Jackson noticed Nettles’ 3-of-4 performance from the line, too.
“That was the biggest thing with him,” Jackson said. “He didn’t score that much inside as he usually does, but he grabbed rebounds, got to the free-throw line and made his free throws.”
In addition to Nettles and Jackson, Fayne and senior forward Terran Mack each added 11 points. Vazquez paced East Tech with 16 points, while senior guard Ronald Jenkins — a former East Tech player — added 12 points.
“They’re tough,” Nettles said. “They make big shots in big games.”
That included Jenkins’ winning shot a few weeks ago in the Senate League championship. The Scarabs had won seven of their last eight before facing the Ironmen.
“Everybody was up for this game,” Jackson said. “We’ve been wanting this game in the regular season. They’ve been wanting it.”
They got it, just farther away than expected.
Additionally, here is what else happened Wednesday during district semifinal play:
Green 28, Canton GlenOak 20: Top-seeded Green shut out GlenOak in the fourth quarter of their district semifinal to preserve a spot in Saturday’s district final vs. Canton McKinley or Youngstown Boardman, who meet Thursday at the Canton Civic Center.
Green (22-2) led GlenOak 12-8 at halftime. The Bulldogs scored 12 points in the third quarter, then closed with a 4-0 fourth quarter. Senior forward Donovan O’Neil scored seven points to pace Green. Jordan Marshall and Sam Oliver each had five points to pace GlenOak (18-8).
Medina 63, Barberton 44: Christian Howard-Caffey’s 20 points paced the Bees (19-5), who will await the winner of Thursday’s other semifinal between Walsh Jesuit and Archbishop Hoban.
Against Barberton (17-8), Medina used a 19-6 run in the second quarter to take control. It turned a four-point lead into a 33-16 advantage.
Junior point guard Corey Tripp scored 13 points, while Doug Sartain added 11. Medina, normally an aggressive 3-point shooting team, took shots closer to the basket and hit only four 3s.
D’lawrence Scott led Barberton with 15 points.
Lorain 60, Avon Lake 46: Junior guard Jamir Billings led top-seeded Lorain with 12 points, while Seth Wilson added 11.
The Titans (16-8) will meet seventh-seeded Lakewood or 11th-seeded Elyria on Saturday in their district final. Senior forward Jordan Jackson contributed 11 points and seven rebounds to Lorain’s effort on Wednesday.
Tanner Russell paced Avon Lake (16-9) with 13 points.
Mentor 71, University School 58: Chad Rogers scored 22 points and junior guard Luke Chicone had 20 to lead the Cardinals back to the district final, which will be played Saturday night vs. Brush or Cleveland Heights.
The Cardinals (18-6) used a 23-13 run in the second quarter to take a 40-27 halftime lead Wednesday against the Preppers (18-7).
Faris Dahman led University School with 15 points, while Josh Bickerstaff had 14.
St. Edward 73, North Royalton 46: Fresh off his career high 35 points last week in a sectional win, senior Devontae Blanton produced a game-high 25 points and led the Eagles to their 17th straight win.
Senior guard Montorie Foster added 16 points and Grant Huffman had 11 for St. Edward (23-1).
Shaker Heights 77, Warren Harding 39: Sophomore guard Danny Young Jr. scored 18 points, and Shaker Heights (19-5) will play in a district championship game for a fourth straight year.
The Red Raiders will await the winner of Thursday’s Garfield Heights-Solon matchup.
On Wednesday, Shaker used a 17-7 run in the second quarter to take a 34-17 halftime lead. Munch Owens led Warren Harding (14-10) with 12 points.
Lutheran East 72, West Geauga 37: Peyton Bissler scored 18 points and Josh Irwin had 17, but Lutheran East gave up only two points to the rest of the Wolverines (17-8).
Lutheran East (19-3) rolled to a 38-18 halftime lead, and senior forward Nehemiah Benson finished with a game-high 20 points. Collin Albert added 14 points, while B.J. Busbee scored 12 and Jay Billingsley had 11.
The Falcons will meet the winner of Thursday’s Lake Catholic-Glenville game. The district final is 1 p.m. Saturday.
Triway 66, Buchtel 61: Bryce Biggs scored 20 points and Kyle Sturgin added 17 to end the Griffins’ season at the Canton Fieldhouse. Triway (20-3) will meet Louisville or Copley for a district championship.
A year after reaching the Division II state semifinals, Buchtel’s season ended with an 11-13 record.
St. Vincent-St. Mary 57, Gilmour 27: Senior forward Marcus Johnson scored 16 points with 14 rebounds to power St. Vincent-St. Mary.
Junior Malaki Branham and sophomore guard Sencire Harris each added 11 points for the Fighting Irish (19-4), who led by just two points after the first quarter but increased that lead to 24-13 at halftime. They closed with runs of 19-9 in the third quarter and 14-5 in the fourth quarter to end Gilmour’s season.
Connor O’Toole, Ben DeMell, Brandon Rose and Garrett Olsen each scored five points to pace the Lancers (16-9).
STVM will meet Revere or Streetsboro at 4 p.m. Satuday.