Bloomington Central Catholic claims 2A boys title

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PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Nick Norton took over just when Bloomington Central Catholic needed him. Norton scored nine points in the final four minutes of regulation to help the Saints erase a 10-point deficit and force overtime against Nashville in the title game of the IHSA Class 2A state championships on Saturday. His free throws in the third overtime put the Hornets away in Central Catholic’s 76-62 victory.

Norton’s Central Catholic teammate Jake Reinhart hit a 3-pointer to begin the third-overtime scoring, but Norton’s eight free throws down the stretch sealed the Saint’s first boys basketball state title.

“It was rattling, being down so far,” Norton said. “You never want to be in that situation but I was confident the whole time, confident that my teammates would step up and we would find a way to get back in it and we did.”

They did it with defense first. Down 10 late in regulation, the Saints ratcheted up the defensive pressure and created points off of turnovers. And Norton, Reinhart and Elliott Hoedermann started to get hot from the outside, making six 3-pointers in the game’s final three minutes of regulation and the overtimes. The Saints made 14 3s on the night.

“They took it from us. We had it and they took it,” Nashville junior Daniel Thorson said. “It was right there. They turned their pressure on and we didn’t handle it very well. We played great for three and a half quarters.”

The Hornets stayed with the smoldering Saints in the first two overtimes behind sophomore post Royce Newman. Newman scored 21 in the game before fouling out with two minutes to go in the game. The Hornets trailed by just four at the time.The Hornets went ice cold after, missing all 11 of their attempts.

Reinhart scored 19 for the Saints (27-6), Parker Goodlick added 15 and John Hester grabbed 11 rebounds.

Nashville (27-8) also got 11 rebounds from Newman. Thorson added 13 points as did Clint Johannes and Dylan Mueller Chipped in 10.

Neither team shot the ball well, especially to start the game. Central Catholic went 3 of 12 from the field in the first quarter but improved to 5 of 13 in the second. Nashville was even better to improve its 7-6 first-quarter lead to 24-20 at the midway point by canning 50 percent (6 of 12) in the second. The Hornets made all six of their free throws before the break.

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