Zeider’s 5 treys, Smith’s double-double lead Caston past North Miami
Defense holds Warriors to 1 FG in final 15 minutes
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
PERU –- The North Miami boys basketball team scored the first five points of the second half against Caston Tuesday afternoon.
What had been a 10-point deficit was down to one.
And then, the Caston switching man-to-man defense took over the game.
Kade Zeider hit five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 15 points, and Sam Smith had 13 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Comets to a 49-35 win over the Warriors at Peru High School’s Tig-Arena in the semifinals of the Miami County Invitational.
Caston hit nine 3-pointers, and that helped overcome just 10 makes in 24 attempts from the foul line. Caston committed 12 turnovers in the first half but only five in the second half.
Caston had only one giveaway in the fourth quarter and was able to keep the ball away from North Miami despite North Miami dialing up a fullcourt press to attempt to get back in the game.
Parker Johnson scored 11 points to lead North Miami before fouling out with 2:34 left. Braden Burns added 10.
Not only did Smith have a double-double, but he helped hold North Miami 6-5 center Keagan Donaldson to two points. Donaldson came in averaging 11 points per game and had scored in double figures in three consecutive games prior to Tuesday.
Caston coach Carl Davis called Smith “relentless” afterwards.
“We just stopped making the simple mistakes,” Smith said. “Those small mistakes, we really tried to control those, and that’s when the game turned around.”
Caston, who ended a five-game losing streak, improved to 2-6. North Miami fell to 2-4. Caston has won the last three meetings between the teams.
Caston led 29-19 at one point in the second quarter and still led 29-23 at halftime. Johnson scored on a back door cut off a Landen Hunt feed, and Burns drilled a 3-pointer on North Miami’s next possession to make it 29-28.
That was North Miami’s last field goal for the next 13 minutes as Caston went on a 13-0 run that stretched three minutes into the fourth quarter.
“I thought defensively we were better in the second half,” Caston coach Carl Davis said. “We were better on the ball. We had a lot of guys playing with foul trouble in the first half, and I think they were a little bit tentative, but I thought we cleaned some things up on the defensive end of the floor in the second half. Really, after the first two possessions, I thought we were really good.”
Jake Paschen quickly answered with a 3 to get the lead back to four. A Zeider triple made it a seven-point game. Another Paschen 3 from the left wing got the lead to 10. A Smith free throw got the lead to 39-28 after three quarters.
Paschen single-handedly outscored the entire North Miami team 6-5 in the third quarter.
“It was good to see,” Davis said. “He can shoot it. He hasn’t gotten it going yet this year. It was really good to see him knock a couple down, and then obviously, Kade getting some open looks, I thought guys were doing a good job looking for him, and we set some good screens for him to get open for those looks. When those two are knocking shots down, we’re going to be in good shape.”
Smith found Jessie Rock-Wolf for a layup on the first possession of the fourth quarter, and Smith added another free throw.
Burns ended the scoring drought with two free throws with 4:59 left. A Seth Ireland putback ended the field goal drought with two minutes left, but by then, Caston led by 16.
Smith said he has worked a lot on his post moves since last season. His back-to-the-basket game has been emphasized since the graduations of Hunter Schanlaub and Mike Rans last spring from Caston’s sectional championship squad. He said he found himself setting even more screens against North Miami’s 2-3 zone defense than he normally would.
“I just got to move along the baseline and get open and screen for our shooters like Kade and get him open,” Smith said. “I set quite a few for Kade.”
Caston senior guard Cam Kline made his season debut. He did not score. Kline had been injured, though Davis did not specify an injury. Junior guard Joey Spin remains out, also with an unspecified injury.
Caston will play Peru in the championship game Wednesday night. Peru improved to 6-0 with a 75-67 win over Maconaquah Tuesday night in the other first-round game. Peru has won the Miami County Invitational seven consecutive years.
Maconaquah went on to beat North Miami 69-57 in the consolation game Wednesday. Maconaquah had beaten North Miami 82-25 in their Three Rivers Conference meeting on Dec. 4.
Caston will travel to North Miami on Feb. 25 in the regular season finale for both teams.
Caston 49, North Miami 35
NORTH MIAMI (35) (2-4)
Landen Hunt 1 4-6 6, Alex Masters 0 0-0 0, Parker Johnson 4 2-3 11, Braden Burns 3 2-2 10, Keagan Donaldson 1 0-1 2, Trevor Simons 0 0-2 0, Conner Pugh 1 0-0 2, Brayden Binnion 0 0-0 0, Seth Ireland 2 0-0 4
TEAM: 12 8-14 35
CASTON (49) (2-6)
Kade Zeider 5 0-2 15, Bryce Rudicel 3 0-2 8, Jake Paschen 2 0-0 6, Jessie Rock-Wolf 1 3-7 5, Sam Smith 3 7-12 13, Cam Kline 0 0-0 0, Colby Pugh 1 0-0 2, Cain Schanlaub 0 0-0 0, Carter See 0 0-1 0
TEAM: 15 10-24 49
Three-point field goals:
North Miami 3 (Burns 2, Johnson),
Caston 9 (Zeider 5, Paschen 2, Rudicel 2)
Total fouls: North Miami 19, Caston 20
Fouled out: Johnson (NM), 2:34, fourth
Turnovers: North Miami 19, Caston 17
Score by quarters
North Miami 11 12 5 7 – 35
Caston 13 16 10 10 – 49