Charlotte Catholic basketball has reached new heights.
The Cougars advanced to the N.C. 4A West Regional final for the first time with a 68-65 win against Southwest Guilford Tuesday at Catholic. The Cougars, who improved to a school-record 30-1, will play North Mecklenburg Saturday for the right to go to the state championship game.
“It’s great and I hope the guys are enjoying it because it’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Catholic coach Mike King said. “We’re going to have a good time with it, we’re going to enjoy it. This isn’t the end of the road, hopefully.”
Catholic had to gut out a fourth quarter in which Southwest Guilford (27-3) pressured the Cougars into ball-handling errors. The Cowboys deployed a full-court press that resulted in six turnovers, but when Catholic broke it, drove to the hoop to collect fouls. The Cougars nailed 12-of-13 free throws in the fourth and 22-of-27 for the game compared to 23-of-39 for Southwest Guilford.
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“We missed free throws throughout the whole game and there were times when I thought we had a little bit of a lead and we’d have more of a lead if we knocked down free throws,” Cowboys coach Guy Shavers said. “We missed ours. They made theirs.”
Catholic made its move in the third quarter when 6-7, 240-pound center Brian Mack took over inside. He scored nine of his 16 points over that span, while opening the perimeter for Cougars guard Jack Larkin, who scored 10 of his team-high 21 points during the quarter.
“I’m not sure our guys lack in confidence and it’s good to keep winning the close ones like this,” Catholic coach Mike King said. “When you have nine seniors that have been through it and keep pulling it out, that makes a difference, but it also helps to have a big fellow inside that’s hard to keep off the glass.”
Said Shavers: “The big fellow made a big difference. He got several put-backs at crucial times where they took a shot and we’d bend but didn’t break but he got a put-back. I thought that was a difference in the game. It was not so much when they went into him but when he was getting those offensive rebounds that really hurt us.”
Josh Brodowicz and Jimmy Abate scored 10 each for Catholic while four Cowboys hit double-figures, paced by Keyshaun Langley with 21 points, followed by Kobe Langley’s 15. Kameron Langley added 13 and Orlando Smith finished with 10.
Southwest Guilford 17 9 16 23-65
Charlotte Catholic 11 13 24 20-68
Southwest Guilford – Keyshaun Langley 21, Orlando Smith 10, Kobe Langley 15, Ty
Radford 1, Kameron Langley 13, Kaymon Mitchell 5.
Charlotte Catholic – Josh Brodowicz 10, Bailey McKee 2, Jack Larkin 21, Sam Smith 7,
Jimmy Abate 10, Xander Gagnon 2, Brian Mack 16.