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  • Val T.

Caston snaps three-game skid, beats NM in regular season finale

Stinson scores 16, Zeider adds 14


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC


Corbin Smith Grant Yadon Alex Craig Carter Clingler


FULTON — Caleb Stinson scored a game-high 16 points, and Talon Zeider hit three 3-pointers as part of a 15-2 run in the second quarter as the Caston boys basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak with a 62-31 win over North Miami Thursday in the regular season finale for both teams.

Zeider added 14 points. Grant Yadon, the only one of the six seniors to not start on senior night, had eight points and seven rebounds, and Alex Craig had seven.

Jake Riley had 13 points, and Lake Musall added 11 for North Miami.

However, two of Caston’s three best defensive games in terms of fewest points allowed have come against North Miami. They also beat North Miami 47-26 at Peru in the Miami County Invitational consolation game on Dec. 28.

And Caston held North Miami without a 3-pointer.

Caston snapped a three-game losing streak and finished the regular season 10-12. They also beat North Miami, who will become a Hoosier North rival next year, for the 10th straight time.

Caston will await either West Central or North White in a Class 1A, Sectional 52 semifinal at home on March 1.

“I know we’ve talked about it before, but our February schedule prepares us for March, and that’s exactly what we want,” Caston coach Carl Davis said. “You know, we had some things, and we made some mistakes in those games that hurt us. We had some mental miscues in those games that hurt us, and we didn’t finish quarters well. And those are lessons that we needed to learn, and hopefully moving forward, those are lessons we can apply.”

North Miami finished 3-19 heading in their Class 2A, Sectional 36 quarterfinal against Winamac at Lewis Cass at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Already leading 38-22, Caston went on a 22-2 run covering the third and fourth quarters. Caston got the lead to 60-24 on a short jumper from Corbin Smith in the lane on an inbounds play to cap the run, and the final 5:05 was played with a running clock per the IHSAA Mercy Rule.

The run also included two layups from Gavin Mollenkopf, one in transition and one on a drive; a Josh Evans 3-pointer from the right corner; a short floater in the lane from Yadon just before the end of the third quarter; a steal and a crossover finish in transition from Stinson; a rare post-up from Stinson at the outset of the fourth quarter; two Craig baskets, including one on a putback; and two Lane Hook free throws.

While Caston hit six treys in the first half, they seemed more focused on getting closer to the basket in the second half.

“We want to work inside-out, and I thought in the second half, we got inside, and we had scoring opportunities, so we didn’t need to kick out,” Davis said. “So I thought our guys did a good job of making decisions. That being a good inside-outside combo is going to make us really hard to guard down the stretch here.”

Defensively, Caston played primarily man-to-man in the first half before switching to a 2-3 zone in the second half.

“It was just a rough last couple games,” Yadon said. “We definitely haven’t played our best defense. Defense has been our weak spot in our last couple games, but tonight, we came out really strong on defense, ready to play, especially in the second half.”

Davis said the defense led to easier offensive opportunities at the other end, and Davis also praised his players for making good decisions in transition.

“To start, we just did what we did in the first half,” Davis said. “We just did it a little better. I thought we picked up the pace a little bit. We pushed it offensively, and that kind of sped them up when they got the ball back too. I thought we did a really good job of recognizing who their shooters were tonight. They got a few clean looks, but I thought we took away quite a few. That was the one thing coming in we were worried about is how streaky they are from the 3-point line, and we know they’re capable of stringing some together.”

Davis praised Yadon for his great improvement over the past couple months. He was honored on senior night but gets at least one more game at the Launching Pad as part of a home sectional.

“It’s definitely different,” Yadon said. “I’ve never had this experience in basketball. I’ve definitely played a lot more than I’m used to. There were a lot of people here tonight, so a great environment honestly.”

The seniors honored included Carter Clingler, Craig, Smith, Stinson, Yadon and Zeider.

Caston 62, North Miami 31

NORTH MIAMI (31) (3-19)

Jake Riley 6 1-2 13, Lake Musall 5 1-1 11, Ray Pickett 1 0-0 2, Ryan Meredith 0 1-4 1, Drew Wright 1 2-2 4, Gavyn Fritz 0 0-0 0, Bryce Gosnell 0 0-0 0, Michael Cleaver 0 0-0 0, Kale Deardorff 0 0-0 0, Caden Clingaman 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 13 5-9 31

CASTON (62) (10-12)

Carter Clingler 0 0-0 0, Talon Zeider 5 0-0 14, Caleb Stinson 7 1-2 16, Alex Craig 3 0-1 7, Corbin Smith 1 0-0 2, Grant Yadon 4 0-4 8, Gavin Mollenkopf 3 0-0 6, Joshua Evans 1 0-0 3, Lane Hook 2 2-2 6, Max Sommers 0 0-0 0, Reed Sommers 0 0-0 0, Carson Harness 0 0-0 0, Drew McGrew 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 26 3-9 62

Three-point field goals:

North Miami 0,

Caston 7 (Zeider 4, Stinson, Craig, Evans)

Total fouls: North Miami 12, Caston 9

Turnovers: North Miami 15, Caston 5

Fouled out: Riley (NM), 3:23, fourth

Score by quarters

North Miami 11 7 6 7 31

Caston 13 17 21 11 62


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