Blessed with lots of athletic talent, and even more hunger based on the way last season ended, the Bishop Ludden boys basketball team set off on its 2009-10 campaign.
The Gaelic Knights went 12-8 a season ago, suffering a first-round Section III Class A playoff defeat to Fowler, and are bent on not having that take place again.
And even though five seniors departed, the return of proven veterans like John Rooney, Jared Littlejohn and Omar Osbourne gives Ludden a good chance at standing up to opponents in the OHSL Freedom division -- and maybe even ending its four-year "Holy War" drought against archrival CBA.
Before all that, though, the Gaelic Knights first had to navigate an opening week that nearly produced three consecutive wins.
Ludden's season tipped off with a one-sided affair against Homer in Geddes that ended with head coach Pat Donnelly using everyone on its roster in a 70-21 romp over the Trojans.
Steadily, Ludden worked its way to a 36-13 halftime lead and kept building the margin as 12 of the 13 players that saw action got at least two points.
Rooney, with 17 points, nearly matched Homer by himself. Littlejohn, Matt Rogers and Tyler Young each had eight points, while Corey Hunter got seven points and Tyler Young earned six points.
Still at home Friday night, Ludden took on Fowler and, except for the first quarter, excelled on the defensive side in a 56-47 victory over the Falcons.
Getting some payback for losing to Fowler 47-37 on this same floor in last year's playoffs, the Gaelic Knights trailed, 18-14, after one period, but used its defense to limit the Falcons to 10 or fewer points each of the last three periods.
This gave Ludden enough time to shake out its own offense and inch in front, 39-37, before a solid fourth quarter that saw the hosts get clear.