CONNELLSVILLE — Don Porter’s first game as Geibel Catholic’s boys basketball coach was a resounding success as the Gators cruised to a 62-24 victory in the Geibel Catholic Tip-Off Tournament on Friday night.

Geibel jumped out to a 20-5 lead in the first period then put up 31 points in the second, thanks to a 16-point outburst by Kendall Cole that included a trio of 3-pointers.

The Gators led 51-14 at halftime, allowing Porter to substitute liberally in the second half.

“Overall I’m very happy with the way the kids played tonight,” Porter said. “I thought they played very, very hard. We’re getting them to buy into the team system I think.

“If they play team basketball and move the ball like they did tonight, we’re going to be a good team.”

Cole led the Gators (1-0) with a game-high 21 points and Enzo Fetsko scored 16. Ryan Anderson chipped in with nine.

“We played a really good first half tonight, especially the second quarter, we shot very well,” Porter said. “I think we were 11 of 16 from the field and four of six from three and we kind of put things away in that second quarter.”

It wasn’t a perfect performance, though, according to Porter.

“There were first-game jitters, understanding a new coach, his philosophy, how I’m going to coach and react to their play,” Porter said.

Ethan Carter was a bright spot for the Maples (0-1) with 12 points.

“Ethan stood out and played really well for us today,” Maples first-year coach Chad Stevenson said. “He rebounded well and scored some points.”

Chuck Lash followed with six points for Mapletown. Lance Stevenon, one of the Maples’ top returning scorers, was limited to four points.

“There are a lot of kids who were really nervous before the game,” coach Stevenson said. “A couple kids who were double-figure scorers last year only had a few points today.

“We just had a lot of turnovers, a lot of unforced mistakes, stuff we’ve really got to work on.”

Stevenson is trying to pull Mapletown out of a rut that includes three consecutive losing seasons. Friday’s loss was the program’s 66th in a row.

He was disappointed by his team’s opener, but remains hopeful.

“It looks like we picked up right where we left off,” Stevenson said. “I thought we really were making some strides in practice.

“The game is still so fast for some of these kids. We don’t have a lot of experience. I’m hoping eventually it will slow back down for them because I really think we’re a lot better than what we played today.”

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