MHC BOYS HOOPS - Central Catholic plugs away inside to deflate Bruins in MHC opener
by: David Ball Central Catholic’s Reid Callan looks to make a pass against Barlow’s Kody Kennedy during the Rams 64-54 win Tuesday night.

PORTLAND - Central Catholic was coming off a 12-point win over top-ranked Jesuit last week, and there was no way the Rams were going to start the Mount Hood Conference portion of their season on the wrong foot. On Tuesday night, Barlow just happened to be the unlucky opponent scheduled to be on the court.

'We were coming off that huge win, so there was no way that we were going to come out here tonight and be soft,' Rams senior Reid Callan said. 'We wanted to put this game away early.'

That's pretty much how it played out, as Central Catholic pounded the ball inside throughout the first half and built a comfortable double-digit lead on its way to a 64-54 victory.

Callan carried the bulk of the load with four early baskets all coming on quick moves to the rim. All but one of the Rams' first-quarter buckets came from inside the paint.

'Our game plan was to go inside where we had the advantage, and once we established ourselves down low, it opened up chances for our shooters on the outside,' Callan said.

Central connected on 14 of 20 (.700) shots to start the game, and opened up the margin in the third period.

The Rams started the second half with Lucas Hunter tossing an alley-oop to the rim where Callan rose above a crowd and softly put it off the backboard for two points. On the team's next trip downcourt, Danny Brakebush set up in the corner and buried a 3.

Barlow called two timeouts within a minute, but it did nothing to slow the Rams, who saw their lead grow to 23 points late in the third quarter.

The gap remained around 20 points most of the way before Barlow connected on some 3-pointers in the waning minutes.

The Bruins managed to keep pace for most of the first period, pulling even at 11-11 with some crafty play from senior Derek Saling. After sinking a 12-foot runner in the lane, Saling trotted back to play defense only to pivot unexpectedly, twisting his body around to steal Central's inbounds pass. He spotted teammate Brad Bourgeois across the lane for an easy two that tied the score.

The Rams went on to score the last six points on the quarter to gain a lead they would never surrender.

Brakebush led Central with 17 points, while Saling had 17 for the Bruins.

Look for coverage of Barlow's win over Sunset from Friday in the Jan. 18, edition of The Outlook.

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