DuBOIS — DuBois Central Catholic got scoring contributions from 12 different players on its way to a commanding 74-56 victory over Austin at home Tuesday.
The Cardinals were in control from the opening tip-off, as they opened the game with strong play on the offensive and defensive ends to jump out to a 10-0 lead in the first 1:52 of the game.
Justin Miknis got the scoring started for DCC at the 7:32 mark of the opening quarter and scored seven points in the opening run.
Harrison Starr and Miknis hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give the Cardinals a double-digit lead with 6:08 remaining in the first quarter.
On the defensive end, DCC’s pressure led to a handful of bad passes by the Panthers in the early going, as they committed three turnovers in the opening two minutes and finished with six giveaways in the opening frame.
Austin broke through on the scoreboard at the 4:45 mark of the first quarter when Skylar Crawford was able to drain a three-pointer.
After Blake Burgett got the Panthers back within eight with a bucket inside of two minutes to play in the first, DCC closed out the quarter on a 8-2 run to take a 24-11 lead into the second.
“I think the way we played in the second half against Ridgway, without Justin (Miknis) carried over to today,” DCC head coach Dom Varacallo said. “Kurtz played really well today, Harrison Starr came up big in the first half, Brandon Walker and Peter Downer really stepped up.”
The head coach noted his team’s confidence from a strong second-half performance against the Elkers led to a big night on the offensive end Tuesday.
Starr hit another three during the run, while Anthony Kness hit a deep three-pointer just before the buzzer to give the Cardinals a 13-point lead after the opening eight minutes.
In the second quarter, DCC once again used a big run late in the frame to add to its lead.
After a three-pointer by Crawford cut the deficit to 11 at 31-20, the Cardinals closed out the first half on a 11-3 run to take a 42-23 lead into the half.
Miknis hit a three-pointer to spark the run, as Starr followed by converting inside while drawing a foul and stepping to the free-throw line to finish off a three-point play.
After another bucket from Miknis, Peter Downer finished off the run by going 1 of 2 at the foul line and scoring on the inside in the final minute to give the Cardinals a 19-point lead at halftime.
DCC continued to use defensive pressure to force the Panthers into mistakes in the second quarter, as Austin committed 11 turnovers in the opening half to just three giveaways by the Cardinals.
After a pair of free throws by Burgett got the scoring started in the second half, a 7-0 run by the Cardinals stretched their lead to 49-25 1:35 into the third quarter.
Burgett finished with 15 points for Austin, while Dempsy Glover led the Panthers with 20 points and Crawford also finished in double figures with 12.
Miknis went 2 of 2 at the foul line, followed by a bucket on the inside by Jonathan Kurtz and a three-pointer in the corner by Egan Peck.
Austin responded with an 8-1 run of its own, but in the end the Panthers were only able to cut into DCC’s lead by two in the third quarter, as the Cardinals led 56-39 heading into the final quarter of play.
A 10-1 run to open the fourth quarter gave DCC its largest lead of the night at 66-40 with 4:27 left to play in the game.
Miknis continued to lead the Cardinals on the offensive end, hitting a pair of shots and adding two free throws during the early-quarter run.
Miknis finished the night with a game-high 27 points for DCC in the victory, while Starr added double figures with 11 on the night.
Kurtz closed out the night with eight points and Brandon Walker added seven, while Peck and Downer each scored five in the win, as Downer pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, seven of which came in the fourth quarter.
Kurtz and Walker also added baskets during the run to help give DCC the 26-point advantage.
After Varacallo emptied the bench near the midway point of the fourth quarter, Austin used runs of 6-0 and 8-0 to cut into the lead.
The Cardinals got scoring contributions from four players off the bench in the closing minutes.
Dante Armanini and AJ Jenkins both scored on open looks on the inside, while Parker Meholick used a spin move to get around a pair of defenders and score on a layup.
Then in the closing seconds, Kenny Starr scored inside the paint after a teammate grabbed an offensive rebound and dished him the ball.
DCC used a strong passing performance throughout the night to lead to a large number of open baskets, both on the inside and from three.
“It was selfless basketball, it was everybody with a goal to win the game and nobody cared who scored,” Varacallo said. “That’s what being a part of a team is all about, the chemistry was great.”
The Cardinals used several different lineups on the court throughout the night, as 14 players scored in the win and three others grabbed at least one rebound.
Even when most or all of DCC’s starters were out of the game, the team still played well on both ends of the court.
“Its not about one person its about the five on the floor functioning as a unit,” Varacallo said. “Nobody is bigger than the team, we’re all one and all here together to accomplish a mission.”
The head coach said he stresses to his players to put the team in front of themselves and that ‘we is greater than me’.
“Tonight was a great example of what can happen when everybody buys in and plays together and doesn’t worry about themselves,” Varacallo said. “It was a great team win.”
DuBois Central Catholic returns to action Thursday on the road against Johnsonburg.