HASTINGS — The Scotus Central Catholic boys basketball team came out and punched Hastings St. Cecilia in the mouth in the first half of Thursday’s season-opening game.

But when the top-ranked Bluehawks punched back, the Shamrocks had no response.

St. Cecilia outscored Scotus 27-10 in the second half to pull away for a 53-40 home victory.

“They’re a more seasoned team,” Scotus head coach Tyler Swanson said. “They made us play out of our game in the second half. We just weren’t ready for that moment. I think we played not to lose instead of staying aggressive like we were in the first half.”

The Shamrocks looked like the veteran team in the first half. Scotus got the ball into the high post and short corner, whipped it around the perimeter and was able to get to the rim, which opened up some outside shooting.

“I thought that was about as well as we could have played,” Swanson said.

But everything they did right in the first half, the Shamrocks did wrong in the final two quarters. They started relying too much on jump shots and less on attacking the rim.

“We didn’t get to good spots,” Swanson said.

Still, there were a lot of positives to take from the performance. Scotus led 30-26 against the No. 1 team in Class C-2 and one of the best teams in the Centennial Conference.

“We can start building off of that,” Swanson said.

Grant Shanle scored 15 points to lead the Shamrocks.

“Grant had a great night,” Swanson said. “He definitely has the ability to do that and he took what guys gave him tonight.”

Trevor Kaslon added 13 points.

Scotus plays its home opener Tuesday against Class D-1 Guardian Angels Central Catholic. With such an inexperienced group, Swanson isn’t worried about facing a lower-division team, he’s focused on something else right now.

“Proving that we can play a four-quarter game,” he said.

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