COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In a tight Central Catholic League race every win matters, and we saw that there is not much of a difference in team quality from top to bottom on Friday night. Bishop Watterson took down St. Charles in the contest, grinding their way to a 58-54 overtime win and defeating the Cardinals for the second time this season.
The game was a very slow paced half court style game, as both teams patiently waited to put their star and role players in positions to succeed and did not care how much time they took in doing so. This did not bore either teams fans as both student sections and the Watterson home crowd gave the game an electric essence.
The game started out with St. Charles jumping out to a 16-9 lead, as the Eagles came out pretty careless with the basketball, frequently turning the ball over. Senior forward Jimmy Patton kept Watterson alive early on with six first quarter points.
St. Charles was clicking on all cylinders, as they found ways to create open shots on the perimeter for freshman wing Jared Frey and pounded a big size mismatch down low with junior big man Victor Searls as that duo combined for 10 points.
Watterson began to chip away at their deficit in the second, heading into halftime down 24-20. The Eagles really picked up the defensive intensity and that started with senior guard Zach Sawyer, who produced seven of their 11 second quarter points. They also did a tremendous job running Frey off the three point line.
Without their leading scorer, the Cardinals really struggled to find a serviceable creation option, only scoring eight points in the quarter.
The third was a quarter of runs, as St. Charles began the quarter with five unanswered points created by going back to Searls down low and junior Spencer Martin knocked down a big triple.
Later in the quarter, Watterson went on a 6-0 run. Previously finding themselves down eleven before Sawyer caught fire again, he scored eight of his teams 13 points in this quarter. Once again the senior kept his team in the game as the Eagles trailed 37-33 after three.
The fourth quarter was an incredibly eventful one as Watterson tied the game at 40 with about five minutes left.
After a few minutes passed by, St. Charles led by three points with two and a half minutes left as Frey attacked the middle of the lane for an and-one coming off a cross screen on the baseline.
On the very next possession, Watterson forward Davis Boone buried a three while being fouled. The crowd went ballistic, but the free throw was missed as the Eagles failed to take the lead.
After a stalemate at 45, Zach Sawyer stole one of many passes on the perimeter and took it for an easy layup to give Watterson the lead with one minute left.
After a strong defensive holdup, St. Charles called a timeout with 28 seconds left, and after that may have been one of the craziest buzzer beaters you would ever see in the game of basketball.
After a St. Charles miss, the ball was tipped in the air for a few seconds before it was thrown into the ground by Watterson, preventing it from going out of bounds. As the ball came back up, Victor Searls tipped it in after a friendly bounce as time expired, sending us to overtime.
Overtime started off with Frey finishing through contact off of a baseline cross screen, giving the Cardinals an early lead.
After another St. Charles bucket, Sawyer drove into the lane and finished through contact, converting the and-one. With Watterson only trailing by one, Jimmy Patton came up with a huge block at the rim which led to a transition three from Boone, helping Watterson take a two point lead with a minute and a half left in overtime.
After a pair of free throws from the Eagles, Frey knocked down another three to put his team down by one with 50 seconds left.
Watterson continued to ice the game with free throws, coming up with the 58-54 victory.
Bishop Watterson now improves to 9-7 on the year and will look to continue their winning streak to four games against Whetstone at home next Friday. With the win and the DeSales loss against Bishop Hartley tonight, Watterson is now tied for first place in the CCL with the Stallions.
St. Charles falls to 10-6 on the season and now finds themselves in third place in the Central Catholic League. They will look to bounce back tomorrow when they host Cincinnati College Prep.
Zach Sawyer (6’1 G / Bishop Watterson / 2019): Sawyer was the life source for his team tonight, pouring out a game high 26 points. The 6-foot-1 lead guard is a fantastic change of pace handler with solid burst off the dribble. A deceptively strong athlete, the senior can finish through contact very efficiently for a guard. He also has a very strong frame with broad shoulders that looks promising when projecting how much strength and explosiveness he could add in the future. He does a great job working off the ball as well, where he can knock down shots from the outside off the catch with exceptional range and knocked down a pair of three’s off movement tonight. He has a very quick, projectable release, and gets a good amount of elevation on his shots. The senior also played with tremendous poise as a playmaker, where he can make simple and decisive reads in the ball screen game, along with simple reads when attacking off the bounce.
Defensively, Sawyer plays with a nonstop motor and constant energy. He showed off some solid lateral quickness and came up with a large number of steals by anticipating simple swing passes, which led to a ton of easy transition baskets for himself, as the guard quickly turned defense into his own offense.
The unsigned senior put in one of the better two way performances I have seen from a guard this season tonight. I’d like to see him continue to develop his on ball value, along with improving his balance when shooting off significant movement. He also has a tendency to be overly aggressive defensively which can force some breakdowns in team defense. Make no mistake though, he’s definitely a player that deserves attention and should have offers from every NAIA and interest from every Division III school in the country. Sawyer should also receive attention from Division II schools that run a very methodical half court system looking for a guard that can take care of the basketball, excel off the ball, and consistently bring it every night with a strong motor.
Jared Frey (6’4 WG / St. Charles / 2022): The freshman led his team in scoring today with 21 points and four three-pointers. At 6-foot-4, Frey already has some good height for a wing along with some decent length. He does a majority of his work off the ball for the Cardinals, as he is one of the best shooters I have seen this season. The southpaw has a lighting quick release and excels shooting the basketball in all three facets, in particularly off movement, which is such a difficult skill that most seniors do not even get the opportunity to excel in. The wing has mastered it already as freshman, where he never loses his balance, always keeps the same form, and did a fantastic job all game reading his defenders movement and then improvising his next move off the ball. He also showcased some value as a passer out of the pick and roll, making a decisive read into the weak side short corner showing that his vision already extends past the roll man. He can also make simple low usage reads working off movement within the flow of an offense. The freshman flashed some good body control finishing at the rim as well when attacking the middle of the court curling baseline off the cross screens like I mentioned earlier.
Defensively, he mostly plays off the ball and appears to be pretty engaged in what is going on off the ball. Outside of typical mistakes, the young prospect is much further ahead then where most freshman should be, but he does need to improve his reaction time.
Frey has a phenomenal IQ and solid positional size already in his young career and he is already one of the better scorers off movement in the area this season, if not the best. Now he needs to continue to improve on his self creation value. He does have some handling coordination, but I’d like to see him continue to add to arsenal of moves like stepbacks, hesitations, and other moves that can be effective both on and off the ball. Nevertheless, Frey will have an outstanding career for the Cardinals and it will be fantastic to follow.
Jimmy Patton (6’5 WF / Bishop Watterson / 2019): The senior had a strong outing tonight with 10 points, but made his presence felt in more areas of the game than just scoring. At 6-foot-5, Patton is probably best utilized as a four than a wing because of his frame. He has outstanding mid-range touch which we consistently saw all game on spot ups and tough pull up jumpers. While it does take him a second to get his shot off on spot ups, he possesses an incredibly high release, making his shot attempts difficult to contest. He did flash some handling coordination on attacking the rim on a spot up and finishing at the rim with a spin layup.
Patton was forced to play the big role for Watterson and spent a majority of his time trying to muscle up with the much larger Victor Searls down low. However, when he was not guarding the St. Charles big on the ball, he was consistently making proper elementary and weak side rim rotations. This allowed him to make an impact on the defensive end of the floor by applying his off ball IQ to come up with blocks and force turnovers on drives.
Patton is an intriguing prospect, but is far from a finished product. A pretty fluid mover at his size, I’d like to see him continue to get stronger and expand his range out to the three point line on a consistent basis. His off ball defensive IQ is exceptional and should project to be decent laterally, but his role did not allow him to show off that skillset tonight. He should be worth a flier for an NAIA.