Aljancic Pours In 29 as Louisville Downs Central 70-63 – Boys Basketball
Louisville 70, Central Catholic 63
The Louisville Leopards Boys Varsity Basketball Team downed the visiting Canton Central Catholic Crusaders 70-63 on Senior Night Thursday at Louisville High School. Louisville has now won 4 of their last 5 heading into the tournament as they finish the regular season with a record of 12-9.
Sophomore guard Will Aljancic made 7 three-pointers and poured in a game-high 29 points to lead the Leopards. Senior forward Broc Pickens also broke double figures with 11 and senior guard Dakota Hoffman finished with 9.
Central Rallies After Louisville Starts Hot
Aljancic hit 3 three-pointers and scored 11 points in the opening quarter to propel Louisville to a 24-15 lead at the end of the first. Aljancic would up his total to 18 by halftime, but Central was able to shrink their deficit to 35-34 by the break.
The Crusaders took their first lead of the game when sophomore power forward Jack Talkington rattled home a basket to put Central in front 45-44 with 3:10 left to play in the third.
Louisville Answers with a 12-0 Run
The Leopards answered back by scoring the final 10 points of the third quarter as part of a 12-0 run into the fourth quarter. Louisville snatched the lead back on a lay-in by junior center AJ Lingenhoel. Then Aljancic caught fire in hitting back-to-back NBA range three-pointers from the right wing that really got the student section rocking.
The third quarter ended with Lingenhoel tipping home a buzzer beater after a missed last second shot by LHS. The 6’6 center came charging in from the left wing as the ball rattled around the rim. With no time to catch and shoot, Lingenhoel tapped the ball back in from inches away just before the red light illuminated the backboard indicating the end of the third quarter. The make gave the Leopards a 54-45 lead as they headed to the fourth quarter.
Hoffman scored.off a pass from freshman guard Hayden Nigro on Louisville’s opening possession of the final quarter. That completed the 12-0 LHS run and put them in front by double digits at 56-45.
Central Catches Fire from Long Range
Central got hot from long range as their first 12 points of the fourth quarter all came from beyond the arch. Junior guard Cade Benjamin hit his third triple of the game to kickstart the Crusader rally. Then junior guard Jude Boron hit 3 consecutive three-pointers to up his total to 6 for the contest to get CCHS within 62-57.
Central got a stop on the defensive end and then inched closer on their next possession. Benjamin made a cut down the lane and received an inbound pass in stride. Benjamin laid it in and drew a fall in the process. He converted the old-fashioned three-point play from the line to get the Crusaders within 62-60 with 3:13 left to play.
Boron later hit the front end of a 1-and-1 to cap off Central’s 13-3 run and get them within the slimmest of margins.
Louisville Closes Game Strong to Clinch Win
The Leopards defense shutdown the Crusaders the rest of the way in not allowing them to score from the field in the final 3:13. Louisville also responded on offense with underneath baskets by Pickens and senior forward Cory Noble to increase their advantage to 66-63.
The final dagger came on an inbound pass and quick score. Aljancic ran around the defense sprung by a pick at the top of the arch by Noble. That left the backdoor unlocked and Boldon delivered a pass to Aljancic who cut to the hoop and scored to put LHS in font 68-63.
Hoffman later iced the game from the line in making a pair of free throws with 19.4 seconds to go. The Leopards prevailed 70-63.
Aljancic Ties LHS Home Record with 7 Three-Pointers
Aljancic made all 7 of his three-pointers through the first three quarters of action. He was unable to connect from downtown in the fourth quarter to tie the single game team record of 8 three-pointers. Brandon Wahl set the mark during a 69-46 victory at Marlington in 2018.
Aljancic’s 7 three-pointers ties the Louisville team record for most in a single home game. Current assistant coach Owen Gramoy also made 7 three-pointers during a 56-54 home loss to Northwest in 2011.
Boron Leads Central with Team-High 23
Boron also made 6 three-pointers and finished with a team-high 23 points to lead Central Catholic. Benjamin made 3 three-pointers in scoring 17 and Talkington also finished in double figures with 14.
The victory snaps the Leopards 4-game losing streak to the Crusaders with this being their first meeting since 2015. Louisville is now 26-31 against Canton Central Catholic all-time according to records dating back to 1931 when they were known as Canton St. John’s.
UP NEXT: The #9 seed Leopards will next host the #18 seed Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin Lions in the DII Northeast 2 Sectional Semifinals on Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00 PM.
Senior Night Pictures
Cover Photo Taken By The Louisville Herald
LEOPARDS 70, CRUSADERS 63
CRUSADERS: Boron 7 3-4 23, Benjamin 5 4-4 17, Talkington 6 2-2 14, Bruckner 1 0-0 3, Johnson 1 0-0 2, Milavickos 1 0-0 2, Shambien 1 0-0 2. TOTAL 22 9-10 63.
3-Pointers (10): Boron 6, Benjamin 3, Bruckner
Team FT: 9-10 90%
LEOPARDS: Aljancic 9 2-2 29, Pickens 5 1-1 11, Hoffman 3 3-3 9, Noble 3 0-0 6, Lingenhoel 2 0-0 4, Nigro 2 0-0 4, Boldon 1 0-0 3, Haren 1 0-0 2, King 1 0-0 2. TOTAL 27 6-6 70.
3-Pointers (8): Aljancic 7, Boldon
Team FT: 6-6 100%
Fouls: 12-9 Louisville
Records: Louisville 12-9