He’s a FRESHMAN?! Poised ninth-grader pivotal in Catholic Central’s victory over Northville

 He’s a FRESHMAN?! Poised ninth-grader pivotal in Catholic Central’s victory over Northville

Catholic Central’s Uchenna Amene elevates for a jump shot during Friday’s victory at Northville.

Detroit Catholic Central reserve guard Asher Suardini may not have been the star of Friday night’s 65-52 victory at Northville, but he was arguably the most compelling story.

Despite his modest stature – he’s listed on the program as standing 5 feet, 8 inches tall – and young status, the freshman from Brighton played like a savvy senior, netting 13 points (six in the at-times-tense fourth quarter) while serving as one of the Shamrocks’ late-game press-breakers in an electric atmosphere that was ramped up by both schools’ gym-shakingly-loud student cheering sections.

“He’s a freshman!”

Suardini even earned his own personalized chant from the CC faithful, who shouted in perfect union, “He’s a freshman! He’s a freshman!” after he drained a long second-quarter trey.

“I tried not to let (the chant) get to me because I had to get back and play defense, but that’s something I’m never going to forget, something that will never be duplicated,” he said. “This whole atmosphere was just awesome tonight; unforgettable.”

Northville's Max Anderson threads a cross-court pass past the fingertips of Josh Ross.
Northvilles Max Anderson threads a cross court pass past the fingertips of Josh Ross

The Shamrocks never trailed and built an 18-point lead at one point in the third quarter, but the feisty Mustangs kept battling, slicing their deficit to 57-50 with 2:06 left on a corner three from Justin Huang.

CC countered with a driving layup by Suardini to make it 59-50 and closed out the win with a 6-2 exclamation mark.

“We knew we were going to get their best shot because this is kind of like their (early-season) Super Bowl and Northville doesn’t really like CC, but they played really hard right to the end,” Suardini said.

Hard work pays off

Suardini, who said he had to make the decision in eighth grade whether to attend Brighton High School or Catholic Central, wasn’t sure how much playing time he’d be given his freshman season.

“I knew they had lost a lot of players to graduation from last year’s team, but I had no idea how much I’d be playing,” Suardini said. “I just have to work hard and do what I can when I get my chance.”

The Shamrocks were led by junior guard Uchenna Amene, who pumped in 22 points. Senior Josh Ross was a beast in the paint, grabbing 16 hard-earned rebounds while contributing eight points.

Asher Suardini PHOTO Detroit Catholic Central
Asher Suardini PHOTO Detroit Catholic Central

Clutch beyond the arc

Junior Sam Howard was clutch for the winners, registering all 12 of his points on three-point plays: three from outside the arc and the other on an and-one.

The Mustangs got after it defensively from baseline to baseline – particularly senior guards Cullen Foley and Angelo Rodriguez – making the visitors earn most of their points. Foley and Rodriguez, both of whom rarely sat, played well offensively, too, scoring 11 and eight points, respectively.

Northville’s top gun was 6-1 junior guard Carlos Adamson, who scorched the nets for 25. Max Anderson secured a team-high six boards to go with four points.

The Mustangs struggled from the free-throw line, nailing just half of their 14 attempts. CC, on the other hand, was 13-for-15 from the stripe.

Northville's student cheering section was out in full force Friday night.
Northvilles student cheering section was out in full force Friday night

Ed Wright

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