OHIO CITY, Oh - The Wildcats were looking for a bounce-back game after dropping their first game of the season at Walsh Jesuit. Although it would be at home, the Wildcats had another challenging team, the Lutheran West Longhorns. The Longhorns came into the game with a 4-0 record and a desire for revenge after losing to the Cats last season 57-38.
The Wildcats started this match with yet another slow start. Not many shot opportunities led to turnovers and early foul trouble. The Longhorns began things with two three-pointers, but Reece Robinson finished a contact layup to get the Cats on the board. The Wildcats, however, continued to struggle, receiving multiple foul calls and travel calls. The first quarter ended with the Cats down, losing 21-8.
The Cats' second quarter went better offensively as they started to get more open looks. Carter Jackson finished on a tough fastbreak and hit a corner three off a sweet dish from Ellis. The Longhorns got in the bonus early, which helped the Cats regain momentum. Tristan Marshall got in on the action with an and-one after an offensive rebound.
Both student sections were very rowdy towards the end of the second quarter having frequent chant exchanges. The Cats fed off this energy and played a tremendous defensive quarter garnering multiple steals and empty Longhorn possessions. Similar to the last game against Walsh Jesuit, fouls ran rampant, with 25 first-half fouls. The foul calls hindered both offenses before halftime. The Cats were trailing 35-25 with only two quarters to play.
Brayden Szczepaniak got the third quarter started with a crafty euro-step layup. The Cats came out with a new game plan running a fast offense, a full-court press, and frequent double-teaming up top. This stalled Longhorn star Jayson Levis; in the meantime, Matt Ellis drained a three. Carter Jackson made his presence known again when he sliced through two defenders for a floater. Carter followed that up with a monster tomahawk slam which made Sullivan Gym erupt. However, the Cats could not lower the deficit and were down 53-43.
Nothing went the Wildcats' way in the fourth quarter. The Longhorns started with three three-pointers and held the cats to zero points until only three minutes left. The Cats couldn't get their shots to fall and began turning the ball over. Lutheran West unleashed an offensive barrage of threes and fancy finishes, which drained the Wildcats' energy. The Cats dropped their second game of the year 74-54.
Jackson led the team with nine points, followed by Robinson with eight points. The Cats had 34 total rebounds to the Longhorns' 22, led by Szczepaniak's eight rebounds. Ace Bucker added four blocks and two steals. The Wildcats turned the ball over 18 times and only shot a team percentage of 37% from the field. There were a whopping 43 foul calls in the game.
The Cats will look to bounce back against 1-3 Villa Angela-St. Joseph on Thursday, December 15th. Tip-off will be at 7:15 p.m. and the SIBN will have live coverage.