BLOOMINGTON — Central Catholic High School basketball coach Jason Welch will tell you “we go as Luke goes” in reference to senior guard Luke Yoder.
Friday night, Yoder went.
He went to the basket, he went through defenders and found open teammates, and in the final three minutes, he went to the free-throw line and made all five attempts. Yoder ended with 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds in a 62-48 nonconference victory over Teutopolis.
“The thing about Luke is, maybe the season didn’t start exactly the way he’d like, but his attitude was about as good as you’d ever want,” Welch said after the Saints’ home opener. “He just comes to work every day with his lunch pail and ready to help the team in any way possible.”
Senior forward Tommy Nelson added 20 points as Central improved to 2-5. The Saints used a 13-2 surge in the third quarter to turn a 34-33 deficit into a 46-36 lead.
Yoder scored on two drives and assisted on another basket in the run. Teutopolis (5-2) never got closer than seven after that.
Welch said the Saints’ defense “hunkered in” during the key spurt.
“We started really playing together and trying to get stops,” he said. “Then we got some buckets on the other end, which really helped. They’re a good team, but we played really well. Stay undefeated at home … that’s the goal.”
Teutopolis had good size with 6-7 senior Clint Weber and 6-6 senior Dawson Smith. Smith had 19 points and Weber 17, but the Wooden Shoes were unable to dominate inside as much as Coach Chester Reeder had hoped.
“They played well and forced us into situations that we didn’t want to be in,” Reeder said. “But our whole key was the paint. Offensively we needed to be in there and defensively we needed to keep them out of there. We flat out didn’t execute that.”
Teutopolis was 3 of 12 from the field in the fourth quarter to end at 41 percent (19 of 46). Central was 22 of 47 for 47 percent.
The Saints went 12 of 13 at the foul line in the fourth quarter, with Nelson's 5 for 6 complementing Yoder’s 5 of 5.
J.T. Welch added eight points for Central, while 6-6 senior Zach Tomerlin had a team-high eight rebounds go to with four points.
Yoder was all smiles about those points, saying, “I got Zach Tomerlin his first buckets of the year (with assists), so that was good.”
“Even though Zach didn’t score a lot, he was clearly a factor in that game,” Welch said. “I thought he did a nice job. Another kid I thought had a good game was Tommy Nelson. Tommy just kind of brings it every night. You lean on two pretty good seniors there (Nelson and Yoder).”
Reeder was impressed with Yoder, saying, “What I like about him is he’s always under control. He’s never off balance. He’s always got two feet underneath his hips. He’s exactly what you want a point guard to be doing.”
Central is at home again Saturday for a 6:30 nonconference game against Monmouth-Roseville.