When Olathe East senior guard Caelan Neal gets going, head coach Jim Super says he’s almost impossible to contain.
Rockhurst figured that out the hard way as Neal scored 25 points in a 75-53 rout on Friday night. The game was a rescheduled match-up from the final day of the Hy-Vee Shootout, which was canceled because of inclement weather on Dec. 21.
“He got to the bucket almost at will,” Super said. “He is just a great athlete and when he gets his mind set in what he is doing, he is hard to stop because he’s got such acceleration and ability and he can get up on the rim.”
Olathe East jumped out to an 11-4 lead, but the Hawklets cut it to 14-13 by the end of the first quarter. After a couple of quick changes on defense, the Hawks got back on track with a 10-0 run to take a definitive lead that they kept for the remainder of the game. They outscored Rockhurst 22-6 in the second quarter behind seven points from Neal, who finished the first half with a game-high 11.
“We went to our white zone and that threw them off,” Super said. “It slowed them down and they had trouble figuring out where to get shots and then took shots and missed them and allowed us to break out and get a couple easy buckets.”
The Hawks led by as many as 29 points in the second half before cruising to their third straight victory. Olathe East improved to 4-1, and Rockhurst dropped to 4-4.
“We were playing as a team,” Neal said. “We were playing hard, we came out aggressive and we scored a lot of points on fast breaks.”
Neal was one of four Hawks in double figures followed by senior guard Justin Matthews who went three-for-four from beyond the arc and finished with 13 points. Senior forward Ezra Talbert scored 11 off the bench, and sophomore forward Cedric Roland added another 10.
Junior guard Will Bazzle led the Hawklets with 16 points, including their first six of the game while junior guard Cartier Dean followed with 11.