CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake Central senior Corban Murphy was the master of his backyard basketball hoop growing up, beating his younger brother Cavanagh numbers of times.
“I don’t think he’s beat me yet,” Corban said.
However, sophomore Cavanagh, a recent Tigers call-up, is using what those countless losses have taught him now at the varsity level. Tuesday’s game against Marian Central was the first time the brothers have played organized basketball together.
Corban was his usual self, tallying a game-high 15 points, and Cavanagh scored his first varsity baskets to lead Crystal Lake Central to a 50-32 nonconference victory over Marian Central.
With the Tigers (6-1) up 28-24 in the third against a hard-charging Hurricanes attack, Cavanagh used a steal from his teammates to make a wide-open layup and end a bit of a Crystal Lake Central drought. Cavanagh finished with four points.
“I got down the court and they got me the ball and I was fortunate to make it,” Cavanagh said.
The Tigers knew that Tuesday’s nonconference affair would be a little different from the rivalry games of last week against Prairie Ridge and Crystal Lake South. With Huntley coming up Friday, coach Rich Czeslawski was afraid his Tigers would fall into a trap.
“I thought Marian did a nice job of executing and slowing us down,” Czeslawski said. “We were worried that was how it was going to go. It was an ugly game and we’re just fortunate to play decent defense and win the game.”
The Tigers came out hot in the first quarter with three 3-pointers, two by Jake Vanscoyoc and one by Kyle Fleck to build a 19-6 first-quarter lead. However, bad shooting plagued Crystal Lake Central in the second and third.
Marian Central (1-8) used a 10-4 run near the end of the second and the start of the third to cut the lead to 28-24 before Cavanagh Murphy’s basket.
Derreck Caldez broke down several different Tigers off the dribble, providing some energy and finishing with a Hurricane-high 10 points. But the Hurricanes had shooting problems of their own.
“I thought in the third quarter we fed off that energy, but in the middle of the third they kind of took control and we weren’t making shots,” coach Curtis Price said. “When we don’t make shots sometimes that deflates our defense.”
The Tigers ended the game on an 18-4 run.
The Hurricanes were without senior forward Tommy Waytula, who sat out to nurse his still-healing dislocated elbow. Price said Waytula might sit for two to four weeks to try to get back to 100 percent.
Crystal Lake Central’s Kyle Fleck, back from a knee injury, scored 12 points off the bench. He knew Central lacked a little bit of focus Tuesday.
“We lacked some energy tonight and we knew that could be a problem going into the game,” Fleck said. “For us, we knew we had to pick that up and we didn’t totally do it. It’s something we’ll need to work on.”
Cavanagh Murphy scored 37 and 22 points in his past two sophomore games and will provide more depth for Czeslawski’s team. He still is looking for improvement in every area from his one-loss team but was proud of Tuesday’s defensive effort.
“A lot of times our defense leads us to good offense,” Czeslawski said. “I would certainly say that was the case today. We got easy baskets out of our defense and that’s a way you can make it through a tough shooting night.”