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Defense Wins the Day on a Great Senior Night for the Basketball Cats

By Kyle Kelly , 02/23/20, 9:00AM EST


The Wildcats had plenty of fun on Saturday night.

A matchup of two cross-state Jesuit rivals proved to be a defensive showdown … in the first half. 

An offensive showing in the second half by Saint Ignatius led them to a 60-37 victory over Toledo St. John’s Jesuit. 

The 37 points the Wildcats allowed marks the fifth time they have held an opponent under 40 points in a game this season. A defensive effort was lacking in the first half but once the second half set-in, it was well on display.

Only 21 points were scored between the two teams in the opening quarter. St. John’s had the final six of those 21 points, leaving the Wildcats down by five (13-8) as the teams headed towards the second stanza.

It was No. 5 for the Wildcats that changed the pace, senior Chase Toppin, driving to the basket two point-after fouls. Toppin sparked a 10-0 Saint Ignatius run into the second quarter that gave his team the 18-13 lead six minutes into the second quarter.

St. John’s did not score their first points of the second period of play until the 2:17 mark. The Saint Ignatius defensive effort held the Titans to just three points in the final eight minutes before the break, taking a 22-16 lead into the locker room. 

That same defensive effort carried into the third quarter, as the Wildcats held the visiting Titans scoreless up until the 4:18 mark in the period. The Saint Ignatius defense only allowed three points over a snap of 11 minutes, as St. John’s were plagued by turnovers.

Defense translated into offense for the Wildcats, with a 17-point performance in the third stanza. Junior Henry Raynor capped it off with two points at the buzzer, courtesy of senior Caleb Blake. 

Saint Ignatius led 39-23 after three.

In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats hit a consistent stride on offense. The 3-pointers drained through the bucket, which registered a 21-point showing in the final eight minutes. 

Senior Danny Nunez and Toppin led the Wildcats with 11 points each. Hanna added another 10 in the win. 

Saint Ignatius celebrated five senior players in their final regular-season home game at Sullivan Gym. Blake, Toppin, Nunez, Hanna, and Micah Anglin had a night to remember with a win over the Titans. They combined for 34 points for the Wildcats. 

The Wildcats are back in action for the Sectional Final on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 7 p.m.

Completing the sweep

The Wildcats also won the previous three contests. The Saint Ignatius Freshmen Blue squad opened things up with a dominant 67-39 win over St. John's Gold team. The Wildcats, led by Head Coach Regan Sweeney ’11 and Assistant Coaches T.J. DiSanto ’06 and Marc Hester finish the 2019-20 campaign with an 18-4 mark. 

The men of Mike Sweeney '78, Sean McNally ’78, and Brian Carey ’78 ended the season with aplomb, to the tune of a 44-32 win over the Titans. The Freshmen Gold Cats finished off a great season with a 14-5 record.

The first season with Tom Parker '10 at the helm for the JV Cats ended with a bang. The Wildcats proved to be clutch down the stretch, squeezing past the Titans, 45-55, for a win in the finale. Kudos to Parker, Matt Porath ’04 and Kyle Wise ’10 on a 15-5 year.