Posted On: 02/18/18 9:05 PM
Marian High School was the place to be on Saturday, playing host to the Detroit Catholic League Playoffs. The opening round was phenomenal, as the matchups were relatively even and the games were exiting in a fun day of hoops on a neutral site in front of a packed house.
A full rundown of Saturday’s forward/big performances below:
Justin Rukat (2019/6’7/Catholic Central)
After a shaky start against Divine Child in the first half with a few turnovers, Rukat turned in a stellar two-way performance. The Shamrock junior had a block party, protecting the rim with authority on his way to 5 blocks and altering several more shots. In the closing minutes of an extremely tight game Justin was given the tough task of guarding William & Mary commit Quinn Blair, and he passed with flying colors. Rukat was able to deny Blair the ball on a few possessions by face-guarding him on a few possessions and heavily contesting a few shot attempts late in the fourth quarter. Offensively, the CC big man displayed good hands and soft touch around the basket and finished at the rim. He also looked good as a face-up post, getting to the rim off the bounce from the FT line area and converting. Justin finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Caden Prieskorn (2018/6’7/Orchard Lake St. Mary’s)
Known for being a stretch 4 with range from distance, Prieskorn put on his hard hat and went to work against Loyola. Caden found it difficult to get going with his back to the basket, as Loyola doubled the post relentlessly as soon as the OLSM big man received the entry pass. He would counter by simply outworking the opposition, coming up with numerous offensive rebounds and putbacks. In addition to being a force in the paint, Prieskorn did a superb job of bringing the ball up the court for large portions of the game and was able to draw several fouls on Loyola defenders. This proved instrumental in the OLSM victory, putting the team in the bonus early in the third quarter and their FT advantage was pivotal without doubt. Caden finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds.
Quinn Blair (2018/6’6/Divine Child)
In a rivalry game physicality is rarely lacking, but Blair brought more intensity than anyone on the court when Division Child matched up with Catholic Central. Quinn was on a mission to get to the rim, just bullying his way to the rim off the bounce time after time after absorbing contact and drawing fouls. He was nearly perfect at the charity stripe, knocking down six out of seven. Blair also hit a pretty stepback triple after getting separation with a behind the back dribble in addition to a few putbacks on his way to 17 points and 6 rebounds. William and Mary is getting a combo-forward with college ready frame right now that may be able to step in a contribute as a freshman by stretching the floor and rebounding.
Christian Girjis (2018/6’5/Catholic Central)
The CC senior made his presence felt during the opening 5 minutes and the closing 5 minutes, and boy were those critical times of the contest versus Divine Child. The early portions of the first quarter saw Divine Child apply relentless ball-pressure, and the Shamrock guards were shaky with the ball out of the gate. The Catholic Central guards had no choice but to use Girjis as an outlet and he made the Falcons pay with three impressive dribble drives in traffic before finishing at the rim while Divine Child defenders bounced off him. In the final two minutes with the game on the line, Christian got switched on to Quinn Blair 22 feet away from the basket on an island. Blair was able to get a step on Girjis after changing direction with his dribble before rising up for a midrange jumper…………Girjis closed out with tremendous speed and was able to get a clean block in a momentum changing play that had the Catholic Central faithful on their feet.