OHIO CITY, Oh - The Wildcats' first week of the OHSAA Playoffs featured matchups against the Max Hayes Lakers and the John Hay Hornets. These games kicked off the Road to Dayton journey for the State Championship hopefuls.
First up was Max Hayes and the Wildcats got things going quickly with an Owen Maruca poster slam. Mike Lamirand joined in by throwing down a lob pass from Max Woidke. The Wildcat domination continued with an AJ Haddox three that put the Cats up 28-4 after the first. The second started with another Lamirand dunk and a hook by Rossman. The second quarter was the same as the Cats were routing the Lakers 41-10 at the half.
The Cats coasted through the second half as all they had to do was maintain the lead. A Sam Springer dunk put the Cats up 35 to institute the running clock. Highlights from the remainder of the second half include an Omar Zayed three and a standing poster dunk from Tristan Marshall. The Cats advanced past the first round of the playoffs 69-20.
For the Sectional Final round, the Wildcats had the John Hay Hornets and Damon Friery started the game with a quick score and a swat on the other end. The Cats jumped out to a 10-0 lead fueled by their suffocating defense. Saint Ignatius led 24-6 at the end of the first quarter. Sean Martin started the second quarter with an offensive rebound and a putback.
The Hornets' offense started to pick up as they cut the lead and gained energy back. The Cats couldn't buy a basket and the offense became almost nonexistent. The Cats still led 42-25 at the half.
The Wildcats started hot out of the gate for the second half. Exploding out to a 15-0 run as the Cats' transition offense was impeccable. The Hornets' first second-half basket came at 1:50 left in the third quarter. The Cats led after three, 67-28. The fourth quarter was a breeze for the Cats as they got the running clock again. The Cats looked calm, collected and ready for the next test of the playoffs. They won 80-35.
Next up for the Cats is the Strongsville Mustangs in the District Semifinal. The Mustangs boast a 15-10 record and want to play spoiler. The District Semifinal is Thursday, March 2, with tip-off at 7:00 p.m. from Elyria Catholic High School; the winner will play for the District Championship on Saturday against Brecksville-Broadview Heights. The SIBN will have live video coverage.