(SOUTHSIDER VOICE PHOTOS BY STEVE PAGE)
Decatur Central’s coach liked the way Friday’s nonconference game with Roncalli started.
Roncalli’s coach favored the way it finished.
But the Hawks’ fast start was a bit too much to overcome, and they remained in front to the tune of 61-50 in the David “Doc” Rather Gymnasium.
The Hawks featured balance, with senior KC Berry working inside to score 16 points on seven baskets and two free throws, Ty’reese Burnett hitting two 3-pointers and four two-pointers for 14 points and Melakih Cunningham hitting three twos and 3 of 4 free throws for 9 points.
Roncalli countered with Drew Kegerreis scoring 18 points on two 3’s, five twos, and by making both his free throws. Luke Greene knocked down three 3’s and three twos for 15 points. Joe Taylor, a 6-7 sophomore forward, added two two-pointers and was 4-of-4 on free throws for 8 points.
DC outscored Roncalli 31-16 before intermission, and that was it, though the Royals did spend the second half chipping away at that lead.
“I thought we did a lot of good things,” said DC coach Brian Surber after the Hawks improved to 1-1. “But we got ahead and just relaxed.
“We had some really good spots. But then we got lackadaisical and let them get back into it. We’ve got to be more disciplined and keep playing for stops.”
Three other Hawks added six points each: Ayden Lawson, Eric Hopson and Nash Sigmund.
Roncalli’s other scorers were Noah Schmaltz, who netted five points, and Charlie Elsener and Judd Selke who each added a field goal.
“Our guys kept fighting, for sure,” said Roncalli coach Jamin Wernke after his team slipped to 1-1. “They blitzed us with their pressure, but we liked the way we ended the first half.
“At the half, we made a few adjustments. We did a good job coming back.”
The Royals didn’t appear headed that way early, when the Hawks blew out to a 28-9 lead midway through the second quarter.
The Royals, despite numerous turnovers, used their 3-point shots to stay close.
Selke drove for a layup with 7:15 remaining in the game to trim the deficit to 46-36. Every time the Hawks appeared on the brink of breaking the game open again, the Royals kept coming back.
“They were just a little bit too much tonight,” Wernke said of the Hawks. “Our guys never quit. They (the Hawks) are good, so we’re going to be better for playing this game.”