Dickey’s ‘bounce-back game’ leads CJ past Alter

CENTERVILLE — Some recent off-shooting nights, especially a 2-for-10 result in a stunning loss to Carroll, made Chaminade Julienne senior Evan Dickey want to shoot those images out of his mind.

So he spent extra time in the gym this week bonding with The Gun shooting machine. He needed to see the ball going through the hoop ... a lot. “I was just imaging, visualizing the game,” he said.

No one at Centerville High School on Friday needed to read Dickey’s mind to see what he was seeing during his extra shooting practice. They saw him make four 3-pointers in the first half and score 16 of his 20 points to spark the Eagles to a 77-70 victory over Alter and take over first place in the Greater Catholic League Co-ed Division.

“I needed this bounce-back game,” he said. “I’ve been going through a lot recently, and after that Carroll game I had to step up. In a rivalry game, GCL on the line, I just had to put my heart on the court.”

Alter (11-7, 6-2) led CJ (17-2, 7-1), the state’s second-ranked Division II team, 15-12 after one quarter. Dickey had seven points and leading scorer George Washington III was 0-for-3. But in the second quarter, Dickey made three 3-pointers, Washington scored eight of his 20 and the Eagles rolled to a 34-23 halftime lead. Dickey’s final triple came on an assist from Washington with a second left.

“Evan was huge in the first half and he kind of kept us afloat while George got his act together,” CJ coach Charlie Szabo said. “And then a lot of guys stepped up.”

Alter coach Eric Coulter took the same approach to Washington that Carroll and lot of other teams have. He had Gavin Geisel face guard Washington, trying to keep the ball away from the Michigan signee who is averaging 24 points a game.

But that left Dickey more open, and he made the Knights pay, which didn’t surprise Coulter in a pick-your-poison move. Dickey scored 22 points in the team’s first meeting, which also ended 77-70 in favor of the Eagles. Last year Dickey had games of 10 and 13 points in two losses to Alter.

“Dickey’s 26% from three, so if you’re going to help off someone, statistically that’s what the analytics say,” Coulter said. “Well, Dickey always plays great against us.”

Likewise, Alter senior Anthony Ruffolo plays great against CJ. The Cedarville-bound guard scored 31 points after scoring 33 in the first meeting.

“He’s so crafty,” Dickey said. “That’s my guy. I’ve known him since first grade playing against him my whole life. His shooting ability is impeccable and he’s so quick. With his movement off the ball, you never know if he’s going to backdoor you.”

CJ likely sewed up the No. 1 tournament seed that will be decided when coaches meet on Feb. 5, plus the league title with a one-game lead on Alter with games left against Fenwick (4-4) and McNicholas (3-5). The Eagles readily admit that the 58-57 loss to Carroll (11-5, 3-5) had something to do with how well they played for most of Friday’s game. Dickey called the Carroll loss a wakeup call.

Szabo made no excuses for the Carroll loss and credited the Patriots for making winning plays and crucial shots. He said that loss helped them refocus more than the loss to Pace Academy at Flyin’ To The Hoop.

“Carroll came in our gym and beat us,” he said. “We’ve been refocused. The Pace game was too easy to explain. I thought our kids would take Carroll a little bit more personally. That game’s helped us re-center and take a look at some things that we haven’t been able to fix because we’ve been winning.”

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