Frank Koehnke, shown taking a charge earlier this season against Waterford, leads the area with 19.4 points per game. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

By Mike Ramczyk

sports@southernlakesnewspapers.com

With several key injuries and youth all over the court, the Catholic Central boys basketball team will take a victory when it can.

That was the case Monday night, when the host Toppers struggled to fend off nonconference foe Faith Christian, a team they usually handle, for a 56-50 win.

Senior Frank Koehnke, who is averaging a team-leading 18.4 points this season, the only Topper to average in double figures, led his team to victory Monday with 26 points and 14 rebounds.

Catholic Central is 2-7 on the season.

The Toppers understandably showed a bit of rust last week after a 17-day holiday break. Scott said the team utilized the time wisely, working on defensive principals and fundamentals.

Head coach Kyle Scott said Faith Christian was a tough opponent.

“Any win is nice to have, especially being young,” he said. “Faith Christian is tough. They are experienced and have some quickness. At half, we really just spoke about our defensive principals and what broke down in the first half.”

As for Koehnke, Scott says he is using his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame to his advantage.

“Frank is a beast,” Scott said. “When he was younger, he was more guard-like. Maybe by necessity now, but he is a load down on the block. He finishes really well, with either hand, and has added some serious strength over the past two seasons. Great player, great leader.”

The Toppers led, 26-20, at the half, and the teams played even in the final 18 minutes.

Sophomore Brandon Pum added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Another sophomore, Bennett Wright, added nine assists and seven points.

Scott says his young nucleus has grown up on the court this season.

“I’m not sure any coach is happy being 2-7, but I also am taking a realistic approach with regards to who we play, the injuries we sustained, and the team experience we have.”

“At times, we have four sophomores on the floor that didn’t play one minute of varsity basketball last year. To their testament, they have handled the pressure and grown greatly in two months. If they continue to work, the future is bright, but they have to work at it.”

Catholic Central (2-7, 1-5 Metro Classic) travels to Racine Lutheran (4-6, 1-4) Saturday.

What will it take for the Toppers to be at their best by playoff time in March?

“We must continue to learn how to handle the intense ball pressure we face night in and night out,” Scott said. “By March, we must make sure we are the best version of ourselves.”

 

Racine St. Cat’s 75, Catholic Central 33

The Toppers shot 28 percent in a lopsided loss in Burlington Jan, 5.

Three Angels scored in double figures, and St. Cat’s knocked down 50 percent from the field.

Koehnke was held to 6-for-15 shooting and 14 points, with six rebounds.

John Pum added five points and six rebounds.

The Toppers made only 20 percent from beyond the arc (3-14) and were out-rebounded 24-17.

Scott said he sees St. Cat’s (3-1 MCC) contending for the conference title.

“St. Cat’s is very, very good at all positions,” Scott said. “Not only are they a great team, but they are young. They have a great point guard, a good big and surround those two with shoo

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