GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — On Thursday, Grand Rapids Catholic Central went on a 28-0 run in the second half of their division two semifinal win over Ferndale.
When asked after the game if that stretch was "perfect basketball", head coach TJ Meerman said "I'm a coach, it's hard for me to admit that anything is perfect."
He has no problem admitting it now: his team is perfect.
The Cougars defeated Battle Creek Pennfield 77-54, winning the first boys basketball state championship in school history and finishing the year 20 and 0.
"It feels amazing," said sophomore Kaden Brown. "At practice you look at all the banners up there in the gym, you don't see a single one for boys basketball. It just feels great to able to get it done for Catholic Central and for each other.
Brown finished with a game high 25 points as the Cougars championship victory resembled their semifinals win.
Pennfield held the lead early in the third quarter, 34-33. Five quick points gave the Cougars the lead but the Panthers guard Aiden Burns would lay the ball in with 5:18 remaining in the period to cut the deficit to two, 38-36. That's when Catholic Central flipped a switch, turned up their defensive pressure and finished the third on a 16-5 run to take a 54-41 lead into the 4th quarter.
Catholic Central would lead by as many as 25 points in the final frame as they cruised to victory. Junior guard Jack Karasinski, who finished with 18 points, said his team could smell blood in the water after a few quick buckets in the third.
"Really it was just our guys saying 'this is our last game. This is the seniors last time putting on a Catholic Central jersey.' So we regrouped, that third quarter is always big for us and we made it happen with a (16-5) run."
Jorden and Durral Brooks both contributed 10 points and Durral added 11 rebounds as well.