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A Second-Half Surge Lead Wildcats to Win Over Gilmour

By Justin Dedrick '23, 12/06/22, 1:15PM EST


The Wildcats use a 33-point third quarter to cruise to a 71-41 victory over the Lancers.

OHIO CITY, Oh - The Blue and Gold were fresh off a 31-point win, but they weren't looking to slow down. There were plenty of areas that the Wildcats looked to improve on coming into this game against the Lancers, but the main one had to be turnovers (16 team turnovers against Euclid). The Wildcats and the Lancers were matched up for only the second time ever, with the first time being a 63-45 Wildcats win last season. 

Gilmour was the first true challenge for the Cats and everyone was eager to see how they would hold up. Sullivan Gym was packed as the Wildcats student section overflowed into the stairs. Gilmour also fielded a student section, as a minor rivalry was forming between these two schools. 

Fortunately, the Wildcats were returning three key players in Carter Jackson, Sean Martin and Owen Maruca. Jackson finished with four points, two boards, two assists and one steal in his season's debut game. Although not showing up on a stat sheet, Martin was locking the opponent up on defense all night and causing havoc for the Lancers.

Straight after the tip, the Lancers played fast and with high energy. The Cats didn't seem ready for the Lancers' power, causing early turnovers and missed shots. Eventually, junior Ace Buckner helped the Cats match Gilmour's pace by scoring seven first-quarter points, including a deep three-pointer, which got the bench jumping out of their seats. The Cats narrowly led after the first quarter, 15-11. 

The second quarter featured more struggles on offense but a more formidable defense for Saint Ignatius. Early turnovers hindered the offense until another Buckner three got them out of the scoring slump. Sam Springer also helped by throwing a perfect lob pass to Reece Robinson, who finished it with a layup. 

Later in the quarter, Matt Ellis showed more of his scoring prowess by faking a defender on a pump and drilling a stepback three. The Wildcats went to the locker room with a 30-18 lead at the half. 

The third quarter may be the best quarter of basketball Wildcats fans will see all year. The gym was electric and just about everything went the Wildcats' way this quarter. Multiple steals led to fastbreak lays for the cats and helped to increase their lead slowly. 

SIBN Player of the Game vs. Gilmour: Damon Friery

Then came the incredible sequence in which Tristan Marshall, who shined last game, had an empathic slam on the rim. Just the play after that dunk came a Cats steal, leading to Carter Jackson having no one in between him and the rim. An absolute eruption came from the student section as Jackson punched the ball through the hoop with all his power. 

The Wildcats scored more in that quarter alone than they had in the first half. They outscored Gilmour 33-12 to take a whopping 63-30 lead with one quarter left to play. 

"At the end of the half we were on a 15-4 run and we wanted to win the next four minutes of the third quarter," says Friery. "We started the second half with a 19-4 run which got us going."

The fourth quarter was a breeze for the Cats as they already had a 33-point margin to work with. Many reserves received more minutes, including fan-favorite seniors Omar Zayed and Gus Rossman. Ultimately it ended in a 71-41 Wildcats victory. 

The SIBN player of the game was sophomore Damon Friery picking up where he left off after an all-around game versus Euclid. This time against the Lancers, he boasted a team-high fourteen points, four rebounds and two steals. He splashed two three-pointers throughout the game as well. Buckner also had a solid game, posting thirteen points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal while adding three triples of his own on the night. 

The Cats crashed the glass out, rebounding Gilmour 34 to 16. The Wildcats forced 17 Lancer turnovers and had nine team steals. 

The Wildcats will look to improve to 3-0 as they have a revenge game against Walsh Jesuit on Tuesday, December 5. Last year the Warriors defeated the Cats in the Sullivan gym 64-60. Tip-off will be at 7:15 p.m. and the SIBN will have live game coverage.