skip navigation

The Cats Open the 2023-24 Campaign With a Victory

By Joe Mertens '15, 12/04/23, 11:15AM EST


Led by Quinn Woidke's game-high 19 points, the Wildcats open the season with a 79-52 win over Medina.

OHIO CITY, Oh - The Basketball Cats opened their season this past Saturday when the Medina Bees came to town. Fifth-year Head Basketball Coach Cam Joyce has a lot of eyes on his squad this year, and they started their campaign with a big win. 

Coach Joyce rolled with seniors Jack Zapolnik, Sam Springer and, Reece Robinson and juniors Quinn Woidke and Damon Friery. Four of these starters have division one basketball offers, with Springer committed to Air Force and Robinson set to attend Cleveland State, while Friery and Woidke both have a handful of big-time schools wanting them. 

This group got off to a great start, going up 8-2, led by four points and an assist from Zapolnik, but the Bees’ J.T. Mog knocked down two consecutive threes to tie it up. Both teams felt the first game jitters, as fouls and turnover numbers were through the roof. Zapolnik stayed hot with an and-one on a two-handed circus layup and a fastbreak layup off a steal seconds later. The senior guard’s nine-point first quarter led the team to a 17-10 lead after the opening frame. 

Medina’s Jase Holland and the Wildcat’s Robinson traded buckets to start the second, and Bess cut the lead to four. Both offenses went cold, as three total points were scored over the next two minutes as the defense ramped up the turnovers. Springer gave the Wildcats a big lift when he rebounded a Woidke missed free throw and put it back up and in, growing the lead to six. 

Neither team scored for the next minute and a half when Medina got a second chance bucket to break the drought. Woidke answered with a left-handed layup and followed with a breakaway layup. Springer had yet another putback off of a Friery miss to go up ten, but junior Kalli Johnson fouled Mog as time expired and he knocked down all three free throws to make the score 31-24 at the half. 

Woidke finally connected from three-point land, the first trifecta of the season. That shot started a run for the Wildcats, with Zapolnik making another acrobatic layup and Woidke adding another in the paint to push it to 39-30.

SIBN Player of the Game vs. Medina: Quinn Woidke

Medina scored the first four points of the half on layups, but A Friery Euro step layup pushed the lead to double digits for the first time and the teams traded buckets, highlighted by a Mike Lamirand two-handed slam. Up eight points with under a minute, Holland missed a layup and Zapolnik led the break and found Matt Ellis open in the corner, who knocked down a three, making the score 50-39 going into the final quarter. 

Saint Ignatius came out firing out of the break, with Zapolnik hitting a wing three and Johnson stealing the ensuing inbound with Friery rebounding and scoring his missed shot. Again, Zapolnik and Woidke had back-to-back layups, then Friery brought the house down with a thunderous dunk, pushing the lead to 19 and a Medina timeout. 

Out of the timeout, it was Woidke’s turn this time as he threw down a one-handed slam. The Cats were running away with it now, as they took a 27-point lead that they did not relinquish, starting their season with a 79-52 win over a talented Medina team. 

The Cats continue their home stand to open the season when they welcome the Louisville Leopards from Stark County on Friday night. Tip-off is set for 7:15 p.m. from Sullivan Gym.