CATLIN —The last time the Chrisman Cardinals and the Shiloh Raiders met, Chrisman senior guard Wyatt Avenatti wasn’t exactly pleased with his performance. In fact, neither was his head coach, Greg Gisinger. And Gisinger let the three-year starter know about it.
Avenatti listened, and in Monday’s Class 1A (Catlin) Salt Fork Regional opener, he did exactly what his coach asked him to do.
“We played them earlier in the season, and I didn’t have my best game,” Avenatti said. “Actually, I had one of my worst games. Coach Gisinger got me and told me that’s not the player that I am. I need to be a lockdown defender. That’s the reason I get playing time.
“So, I locked him down and tried my best. I was pretty happy that he didn’t score until the last two minutes or so.”
Avenatti was referring to Shiloh standout shooting guard Cyrus Furgeson who was held scoreless until the junior hit a three with one minute, 23 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. Those were Furgeson’s first points of the game.
The defensive effort the Cardinals displayed against the Raiders not only shut down Furgeson (four points, two rebounds) who averages nearly 20 points per game, but helped them to a 62-52 win. Chrisman will next take on top-seeded Milford in Wednesday’s 6 p.m. semifinal.
“We really worked hard the last two practices on locking them down,” said Avenatti, who had six of Chrisman’s 10 steals. “We knew they had two, maybe three good offensive players. Coach told us that if we just kept our defense up, our offense would come, no matter how long it took. He told us throughout the season we would make shots when we needed it to happen, and we did.”