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HS boys hoops: Cavaliers wake up, topple Warriors, 56-48

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PHILADELPHIA — After subpar performances in four straight games, including two losses, the last thing Immaculate Central boys basketball coach Mike Delaney needed was for his club to come out uninspired Thursday night.

IHC, however, allowed the first 10 points of the Frontier League “A” Division game to Indian River and did not manage a field goal until the opening minute of the second quarter.

But when the Cavaliers settled down, they eventually won, 56-48, after IHC started running its offense more efficiently, and momentum switched. IHC outscored Indian River 53-38 over the final three quarters.

Jude Whalen scored 22 points for IHC (11-3 overall, 8-2 league), which rallied to lead 24-20 at halftime and then maintained the lead the rest of the game.

“Once we figured out how to attack their defense, we settled down,’’ said Whalen, who hit three of IHC’s six 3-point field goals. “We’re comfortable against the 2-3 zone, but we were forcing things that first quarter.’’

Indian River (7-5, 7-4) scored the first 10 points, and IHC didn’t get on the board until Jake Fusilli’s free throw with 1:38 left in the opening period.

The Cavaliers went 0-for-8 from the field that quarter, turned the ball over eight times and trailed 10-3.

“We were probably lucky not to be down 15 or 20,’’ Delaney said. “Too many quick shots and sloppy passing. Our defense was good, so we just needed to calm down and run our offense.’’

Whalen drilled a 3-pointer to begin the second quarter. But Indian River scored six straight points to build the lead back to 10 before IHC answered.

Another Whalen 3-ball finished off a 9-0 IHC run. Jude Fusilli’s 3-pointer finally gave the Cavaliers the lead, 20-18, with just over a minute left before halftime.

IHC scored the final four points of the half, then built as much as a seven-point lead midway through the third quarter before Indian River trimmed the deficit to 38-34 heading into the final period.

After the Warriors drew to within a point, Whalen nailed a huge 3-pointer in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Indian River managed just one field goal over the next four minutes, and couldn’t find enough offense to come all the way back.

“We have trouble scoring normally,’’ a perplexed Indian River coach Tim Callahan said. “But to have 17 turnovers and make so many bad passes, that makes it even tougher to come back from a five- or-six-point deficit.

Shelton Williams scored 20 points and Demetrius Gibson added 17 for Indian River. But second-leading scorer Danny Angelo, averaging 13.2 points, was held to three and starters Malik Tillman and Devin White did not score at all.

“I used a lot of guys, but I got a good effort from only two,’’ Callahan said. “This has been a funny team. We’ve been fundamentally sound at times, but the last few we just don’t do any of the little things very well. It’s really frustrating.’’

Delaney said his zone’s objective was “to get out on Angelo and make him take contested shots. And we did a good job with that. We’re not a great rebounding team, but I thought we battled hard tonight and at least kept the ball alive on a lot of possessions.’’

Whalen said he was looking for his shot “a little bit more tonight because of the zone. And then when they went man-to-man, we did a good job of attacking the basket and getting to the foul line.’’

IHC, which made 12 of its 15 free throws, also received 12 points from Robin Massey, completing a season sweep of the Warriors.

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