Caston relies on juniors, pressure defense to top North Miami
Zeider scores 14, Smith contributes double-double
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
DENVER –- The Caston boys basketball team might not be known for their pressure defense as much as their switching man-to-man, but that might be changing on the eve of sectionals.
Pressuring North Miami from the outset, Caston went on a 15-0 run to open the game and went on to beat the host Warriors 62-38 Thursday.
Juniors Kade Zeider, Sam Smith, Joey Spin and Bryce Rudicel were Caston’s top four scorers.
Zeider hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter and scored a game-high 14. Smith recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Spin had nine, including seven in the third quarter. The quick-handed Rudicel also had nine points, which included three transition baskets.
Parker Johnson was North Miami’s lone double-figure scorer with 10.
Caston, who led by as many as 28 points in the fourth quarter, broke a six-game losing streak and finished the regular season 7-15.
North Miami fell to 6-15.
Smith opened the scoring with a layup off a Rudicel assist. Zeider hit a 3-pointer from the left corner against North Miami’s zone. A Rudicel transition layup off a North Miami turnover made it 7-0. Another Zeider 3 from the left corner made it 10-0 and led to a North Miami timeout.
Jessie Rock-Wolf’s steal and layup made it 12-0. A Smith free throw and another Rock-Wolf steal and layup made it 15-0.
Caston pressed in a 2-2-1 formation. Coach Carl Davis thinks the benefits of the 2-2-1 go beyond defensive intensity.
“We played quite a bit against LaVille on Friday and kind of started in against Lewis Cass (on Saturday),” Caston coach Carl Davis said. “So we’ve been playing it a little bit more. We felt like we got into some fourth quarters, we were down, and we went 2-2-1, and it seemed like it carried over to the other end, and we were more aggressive offensively too. So we started in the last couple games just because we’re trying to get things going offensively too, and we hope that leads to us being aggressive.”
Rock-Wolf and fellow senior Cam Kline have switched roles within the last two weeks. Kline now starts, and Rock-Wolf has embraced a bench role.
“I think I’m more energized coming off the bench,” Rock-Wolf said. “I’m more of a boost for the team coming off the bench. It’s just what I needed to do for the team to get us to the best position we can be at.”
North Miami coach Ryan DeMien noted Caston’s nine 3-pointers for the game and the ballhandling issues early. It’s a concern as DeMien expects North Miami’s first sectional opponent – either Southwood or Southern Wells – will also likely be pressing.
“I think we had six turnovers in the first quarter,” DeMien said. “That hurt us. … It’s something we know we’re going to have to fix and take care of the ball.”
Rudicel sparked another 7-0 Comet run in the second quarter with a 3-pointer and another steal and layup that made it 30-10.
“I feel like when teams rush us and speed us up, I feel like we get sped up and then we do better,” Rudicel said of playing at a faster tempo.
Said Davis: “Bryce had a lot of deflections for us tonight, and that’s something he’s brought to the table all year long. We like getting up and down a little bit more gives him opportunities to get out into passing lanes, and he did a great job of converting them into points tonight.”
Spin scored seven of Caston’s 12 third-quarter points. Senior Kobi Martindale scored five points in the fourth quarter.
“It’s great to see a senior come in and play,” Rock-Wolf said. “He got going. Love to see him score.”
Caston has won the last four meetings with North Miami, including a 49-35 win at Peru in the first round of the Miami County Invitational on Dec. 29.
Caston’s game against South Newton in a Class 1A, Sectional 52 quarterfinal at Tri-County will start at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The winner will play Tri-County at 6 p.m. Friday. The sectional final will start at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Caston 62, North Miami 38
CASTON (62) (7-15)
Joey Spin 4 0-0 9, Kade Zeider 5 0-0 14, Cam Kline 2 1-2 7, Bryce Rudicel 4 2-2 11, Sam Smith 3 5-8 11, Colby Pugh 0 0-0 0, Cain Schanlaub 0 0-0 0, Kobi Martindale 2 0-1 5, Jake Paschen 0 0-0 0, Jessie Rock-Wolf 2 0-0 4, Carter See 0 0-0 0, Evan Howard 0 1-3 1
TEAM: 22 9-16 62
NORTH MIAMI (38) (6-15)
Landen Hunt 0 0-0 0, Parker Johnson 2 5-7 10, Alex Masters 2 2-2 6, Braden Burns 2 5-7 9, Keagan Donaldson 3 1-3 7, Trevor Simons 2 1-2 6, Seth Ireland 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 11 14-21 38
Three-point field goals:
Caston 9 (Zeider 4, Kline 2, Spin, Rudicel, Martindale),
North Miami 2 (Johnson, Simons)
Total fouls: Caston 20, North Miami 16
Turnovers: Caston 12, North Miami 16
Score by quarters
Caston 18 17 12 15 – 62
North Miami 6 8 10 14 – 38
Bryce Rudicel Jessie Rock-Wolf