Red Devils Get First MCC Win in Case’s Return

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Owen Boyette

When Matteus Case stepped on the court Friday night against Vianney, it was only his second time suiting up at home this season. The Canada native went on a college visit after the team’s second game in Los Angeles on December 21st and then went home for the holidays.

Early in the game, though, he was already playing like a veteran.  He found success early, draining a three pointer in the opening minutes of the game. His three pointer to put the Red Devils up 7-3 early in the first quarter drew a quick timeout from Vianney head coach Kevin Walsh.

The home team gripped the momentum right from the jump as Frazier Ott tipped the ball towards the basket Chaminade was scoring on. Harrison Vickers grabbed it out of the air and put the ball in the basket to get the first score of the game. The Griffins responded with a long offensive possession, highlighting Coach Walsh’s signature intricate ball movement culminating with his team finding the open man for three. The Red Devils answered with a quick score and then forced a turnover. Off the turnover, Case was open in transition, received the pass, and sunk his three-point shot to put the team up four and force a Vianney timeout.

Long and drawn-out Vianney possessions was the story of the first half defensively for Chaminade. The Griffin’s strategy required the Devils to constantly switch their on-ball pressure as the basketball pinged from player to player. Although this pressure would create turnovers at times, it also allowed the opposition to kick the ball to the open man and keep the offensive’s possession going. These possessions would last for a minute and a half to two minutes at times, with the goal of finding the wide-open shot. This clock dominant approach resulted in fewer possessions for the Red Devils; thus, the team had less opportunities to score.

The pressure Chaminade was able to apply was the catalyst for multiply Vianney turnovers, which would trigger fast breaks for the home team. Running in transition has a way of sparking big offensive plays and this was evident on Damien Mayo’s first half alley-oop slam. In the middle of the second quarter, the Red Devil defense stole the ball from the visitors and the ball was passed up the court to Luke Kasubke. As Kasubke was driving to the basket, he saw Mayo cutting towards the baseline from the opposite side, and from there he threw the ball high in the air to the sophomore who finished the play with a ferocious slam.

Damien Mayo’s first half alley-oop wouldn’t be his only of the game. In the second half, while on transition a player threw the ball up to him, but the timing was just touch off, so he settled with a layup. His third trip up in the air resulted in him catching the ball and slamming it through the net, which just like earlier, sent the spectators into pandemonium.

Mayo’s highlight dunks were just part of the team’s win. Matteus Case led the team in scoring with 14 points, getting 12 of them from behind the arc. The senior guard played smoothly but with confidence. His shooting was complemented by a gliding style that he used to sink floater while he was cutting to the rim. He played confidently and without rush. The team as whole was efficient on offense and played well on defense, especially in the second half where the devils only allowed 6 points in the final two quarters, with a final score of 59-28.

Over the past two years, the trend is that the games against Vianney seem to be the least crowded of all of the MCC games. Friday night bucked that trend. The Athletictron was filled with families from both teams, perspective Chaminade students, alumni and their families seeing the squad over the break, the Chaminade student section, and other curious spectators who wanted to see the team live after reading all the high final scores from previous games. The baselines were filled with cameramen shooting highlight videos and taking snapshots of the game. If the crowd on Friday night is any preview for the rest of the season to come, then the Red Devils seem to be in high demand.

Overall Record: 8-0

MCC: 1-0

Next Game: Friday January 10th, 6:30 at home vs. SLUH.