Cathedral-Boys basketball wrapup
Much went well, and the future looks bright.
Head Coach Jason Delaney said both things were true for Cathedral High School boys basketball in 2019-2020. It was a successful season by any measure.
“But it doesn’t change the sting of the end,” Delaney said.
A young, inexperienced Irish team set new standards in ’19-’20, finishing 18-6 in difficult circumstances – and against one of the area’s more difficult schedules. The season ended with a 71-68 loss to Crispus Attucks in the first round of Class 4A, Section 10 Tournament at Lawrence Central.
How young were the ’19-’20 Irish? Just two players played in the sectional tournament who had played in it a year earlier.
“The future is extremely bright,” Delaney said. “We had a lot of freshmen and sophomore get a lot of minutes this year, which isn’t the norm – especially at this level. We’re extremely excited.
“We had the same record a year ago with a veteran team. That’s why it’s so exciting – to go 18-6 with a lot of youth says a lot. The program has changed. You look at guys who have laid the foundation to get to this point. You’re starting to see the program as a whole taking shape where guys get injured and you have guys step into a role and you don’t lose a beat.
“You just continue to do what your goal is, which in the end is to win games.”
The ’19-’20 Irish, who went 18-6 the season before, overcame the loss of 2019 Mr. Basketball Runner-Up Armaan Franklin and also overcame a slew of early-season injuries.
“We graduate four seniors – two of them that played significant minutes – but other than that we return everything,” Delaney said. “Now, all these guys have that experience.”
The Irish, while young, received major contributions from four seniors in ’19-‘20. They were:
*Captain Grant Taueg, a sixth man as a sophomore and junior who averaged 11.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per game as a senior. “He hit huge shot after huge shot and was kind of our vocal leader on the floor,” Delaney said. “He played 100 miles per hour and gave you everything you had.”
*Captain Ryan Trusler, who averaged 5.2 and 3.0 assists per game as a senior and who Delaney called a “bulldog. “He was a guy who waited his time, worked his way up from freshman to jayvee to varsity and gave you everything he had,” Delaney said. “His on-the-ball defense changed a lot of games. He was that gritty, tough guy you have to have.”
*Captain Jarrett Frank, who averaged 1.6 and 2.2 rebounds per game. “His example of work ethic set the tone,” Delaney said. “You have to have guys with that work ethic who are willing to sacrifice themselves no matter if it benefits them or not. You have to have guys like that, who model that.”
*Harrison Fagg, who averaged 5.1 and 2.3 rebounds per game. “He’s a guy who came in every day, put his hard hat on and went to work,” Delaney said.
Multiple underclassmen were also key. Junior Tayshawn Comer averaged 15.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, with sophomore Pete Moe averaging 13.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Junior Jalen Johnson averaged 7.8 points and 2.3 rebounds and junior Vincent Brady averaged 9.3 points and 4.9 rebounds.
Freshman Jake Davis averaged 6.0 points and 3.3 rebounds, and also shot 50 percent from 3-point range and was No. 3 in the state in charges taken. Freshman Jaron Tibbs averaged 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds and sophomore Jaxon Edwards averaged 1.5 points a game.
“The young players played so well that you couldn’t do anything else other than play them,” Delaney said.
The Irish in ’19-’20 also learned to win close games, twice overcoming large second half deficit to win – a 91-88 victory at Avon and a 63-60 victory over Carmel.
“Those are quality opponents, where we could have just hung our heads, but they just kept fighting no matter what,” Delaney said. “They never gave up. They played with tenacity no matter the score. That was the kind of the identity of this team.
“So many people came up and said they loved watching the effort and toughness of this team. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, we just couldn’t close out. That’s the next step now.”
The Irish will take that step not only with varsity players from this past season’s team, but also with players from other parts of the program that had success this past season. The Cathedral freshman team won the city tournament and the junior varsity was competitive throughout the season.
“What we’ve got coming back is a bunch of hungry guys,” Delaney said. “All these guys coming back have been winners. That’s the next step: you have to have guys that all they know is winning, so anything less than that they’re not going to accept. If they do fall short, they’re going to work even harder to make sure they don’t have that feeling again.”