Preview - Cleveland Central Catholic at VA-SJ

Preview - Cleveland Central Catholic at VA-SJ

Published Jan. 13, 2012 7:51 a.m. ET

Watch this game tonight live at - tipoff is at 730pm.

Cleveland Central Catholic will invade rival Cleveland VASJ on Friday in a North Coast Conference showdown featuring two teams with plenty of history.

The VASJ Vikings come into the contest with a (5-3) mark, but its losses were to the likes of Lakewood St. Edward and unbeatens Bedford Chanel and Cleveland Heights.

The Vikings are on a two-game losing streak, but still playing well nonetheless.

VASJ will likely start 6-7 junior Demonte Flannigan, 5-11 senior Karl Garner, 6-2 junior Duane Gibson, 5-10 senior Mel Burke, and 6-1 freshman Brian Parker.

6-6 freshman Carolton Bragg and seniors Mike McGarry and Rodney Burse are nice options off the bench.

Flannigan is leading the team in scoring at 19.1 points and rebounding at 13.5 boards a night. Parker adds 12.5 markers. Garner is next with 12 points per contest and Gibson is netting 10.9 a game. Bragg is scoring just over four points off the bench.

Cleveland Central Catholic, a year removed from the Division III State Championship Game, has struggled to a (3-5) start largely due to inexperience and youthfulness.

The Ironmen have faced some fierce competition and suffered defeat to Akron SVSM, Cleveland Benedictine, Bedford Chanel, Mentor Lake Catholic, and Garfield Heights.

According to first-year Ironmen head coach Jonathan Harris, youth has certainly played a part.

“We are some babies,” joked the former Cleveland Rhodes boss about how young his team was. “We are going through some growing pains. A lot of these kids played freshmen basketball last season and have now been thrown into the fire, but we are getting better, finding ourselves, and I think we are due for a big win.”

Harris also gave plenty of credit to the opponents.

“We are playing teams with great senior guards with the will to win,” Harris explained. “When you have seniors with the ball in their hands, they believe they control their own destiny.”

Central Catholic will start just one senior in 6-6 Darion Bruster. Juniors Gregory Snyder (6’1) and Carlos White (6’3) will join sophomores Greg Alexander (5’10) and Shavante Montgomery (6’2) to round the starters.

Lengthy 6-6 senior Alan Harper will lead the bench squad. He will be joined by Stephen Stone (6’4/So.) and Demario Cooper (6’4/So.).

Alexander and Harper were the only returnees, which saw significant minutes last season.