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New Cath Rolls Over Newport

The two schools may be within a close proximity of one another, but the score was anything but as Newport Central Catholic routed Newport at home, 78-49, on Tuesday night, one day after blowing out Holy Cross.

It was the second game in as many days for the Thoroughbreds, but they showed no signs of fatigue as they were the dominant team really from the opening tip.

The story of the night was NCC junior forward Ben Weyer whose development continues to climb at a steep pace as he was completely unstoppable for the Wildcats down low and also further solidified his growing reputation as an outside threat as well, sinking all three of his shots from beyond the arc. Weyer's 22 first half points matched the entire Newport team, as the lanky 6'6'' forward finished with 33 points and 14 rebounds, many of the offensive variety. He also had at least four blocks in the game and was just an all-around force on the evening.

“He's playing really well,” New Cath head coach Ron Dawn said after the game. “He's coming off of the best game of his life last Saturday when we played St. Louis Academy. He went up against a kid that's going to Fresno State and put up 33 points and 13 rebounds on him, so he's playing well right now.”

Newport saw right away that Weyer was going to be a problem for them as he knocked down a pair of 16-foot jump shots and had two tone-setting blocks in the very early going. He followed that up with a give-and-go dunk and a put back on the offensive glass, and suddenly he and the Breds were quickly out in front. Once senior forward Drew McDonald hit two three-pointers of his own, it became apparent in the first quarter that the Wildcats had a daunting uphill climb ahead of them.

Compounding the problems for Newport was an inability to box out on defense. Yes, New Cath had a sizable height advantage, but the Wildcats demonstrated poor technique when blocking their man out. This allowed Weyer, McDonald and the others to get numerous second chances and eventually wore the Wildcats out.

They also found themselves on the wrong end of the turnover battle as senior point guard Paul Price committed multiple early turnovers which helped push the blowout to its early limits. At the end of the first, the score was 22-8 and was pretty much already over.

One substitute for the Breds that stood out was forward Erik Anderson.

“He plays hard,” Dawn said of Anderson. “He's just getting here and has only practiced with us for five days. He played football and then he got sick, but he's coming along.”

Anderson had an active first half with six points and looked like another quality role player for Coach Dawn.

Into the second quarter, NCC spread their offense out and looked for their point guard Zach Pangallo to penetrate the lane with the dribble and finding cutting slashers to pass to for easy inside buckets. This was one way Weyer was able to score all of those points. Pangallo only finished with seven points, but ran the offense exactly the way the game dictated he do so.

The spread is a bit different of a look than what they ran last year with graduated senior Jake Schulte. With Schulte, they looked for him to work in the post and work their scheme off of that, but now with Weyer as McDonald's complimentary front court mate, the team can use speed and length, rather than size and strength.

“They could sag on Schulte a little bit last year and they really can't do that on Weyer,” Dawn said about the opposing defenses his team has seen this year. “He's shooting the ball well and that makes them come out on him and really opens up things for McDonald inside.”

Newport needed someone else to score outside of their top scoring threat Ethan Snapp. Despite his thin frame and regular height, it's easy to see the shifty, shoot-first style of Snapp and how he produces nearly 20 points a game—and he did finish with a team high 16 points—but with no one else stepping up to take the heat off of him, Snapp was not enough.

After halftime, Weyer really poured it on with eight straight points to start the half, capped off by an ally-oop jam. Newport continued to commit turnovers and not box out and the lead grew completely out of control with a third-quarter score of 68-35. The crowd was delighted when Zach Pangallo swished the seventh three-pointer for the Thoroughbreds which enabled everyone in attendance a free chicken sandwhich from Chick-fil-A.

New Cath improves to 9-2 and will travel to Indianapolis to play in the KABC Classic on Saturday. Newport drops to 7-8 and will play at Highlands on Saturday night.

Story & photo by Bryan Burke, associate editor