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The Cats Improve to 3-0 With Intriguing Matchups Ahead

By Eli Maistros '24, 12/14/23, 12:15PM EST


After decisive wins against Louisville and VASJ, the Cats gear up for a challenging weekend test against Richmond Heights and Reynoldsburg.

OHIO CITY, Oh - The Saint Ignatius Basketball squad took care of business to start their season, following up their opening night win over Medina with two victories to improve to 3-0 going into a highly anticipated weekend of basketball. 

Last Friday, Head Basketball Coach Cam Joyce's men hosted the Louisville Leopards, hailing from the Stark County area and they wasted no time silencing Sullivan Gymnasium, going up 14-4 with three minutes remaining in the opening quarter behind seven buckets inside the paint, making their presence known down low. Quinn Woidke hit a huge three-pointer to stop the bleeding and the Wildcat offense finally woke up, led by the junior guard, as he finished the frame with eight, giving the home side an 18-16 lead after one. 

Both teams traded buckets, with Louisville always having an answer and keeping the score within three points, but Matt Ellis converted on an and-one, and a Reece Robinson layup followed. Once again, the Leopards connected from deep to halt the run. Ellis returned the favor with his second and-one of the quarter before the scoring went quiet. Sam Springer hit two free throws, Jack Zapolnik broke the drought to push the lead to double digits and the Wildcat lead ballooned to 15 points as the teams went to the locker rooms. 

Saint Ignatius stormed out of the locker room strong, scoring the first seven points of the third period. The lead stayed over 20 points for most of the third quarter, with Woidke and Robinson combining for the following nine Wildcat points. Beau Siegfried of the Leopard nailed a three-pointer to cut the lead to 17 at the end of the third frame. 

Louisville came out into the last period with a mission, with senior Hayden Nigro, who finished the game with 24 points, getting six straight points to start the quarter as the Leopards looked to mount a comeback. Zaplonik gave the Wildcats more breathing room with an and-one, but Louisville's Tate Aljancic responded right away with a three-pointer and Nigro made two layups on two possessions, making the score 63-56 halfway through the fourth. 

Robinson and Aljancic traded buckets, and junior Kalli Johnson scored his first six points of the season consecutively to pull away finally. Wildcat free throws iced the game, with the final score being 75-61. 

Saint Ignatius was back in action on Tuesday as they took on the Villa Angela-St. Joseph Vikings was once again in Sullivan Gymnasium. 

Throughout the game, the big story was the dominance of Robinson and it was fitting that he scored the first four points, but Sean Shenker of the Vikings responded with a three-pointer, his first of four in the game. The Vikings were able to keep it within one score until Damon Friery knocked down his first triple of the season, followed by a Sean Martin steal and score, a Robinson dunk and a Mike Lamirand three-pointer extended the lead to 20-13 to end the quarter. 

SIBN Player of the Game vs. VASJ

The teams traded buckets for most of the quarter, as scoring was complicated, with the two sides combining for only 14 points in five minutes of action. The Vikings were able to cut the lead down to four with a Quandell Wright spinning layup, but senior Max Woidke opened the lead back up with a trifecta from the corner. The elder Woidke and Robinson combined for two consecutive steals and scores and junior Jimmy Thomas hit an and-one to cap off the solid first half, with Saint Ignatius up 39-28. 

The Wildcats likely played their best eight minutes of the season in the third quarter, scoring a season-high for points in a quarter with 34. Quinn Woidke knocked in an early three and Robinson did some cleanup work at the rim for another bucket. The teams traded buckets for a couple of minutes, but an 11-0 run highlighted by a Friery three-pointer and two Springer layups back-to-back blew the game wide open. Another Max Woidke three and two more Robinson layups grew the lead to 31, which ended the third quarter. 

By now, both teams had emptied their benches, with the reserves getting quality minutes, but the Wildcats did not let off the gas, led by Thomas, who finished the game with nine points and junior Pearce Gibbs, who put in seven of his own. The night's story, however, was Robinson, who set new career highs with 24 points and 14 rebounds, with 22 of those points coming in the paint. 

The Cats took care of business at home, winning their first three games inside Sullivan Gym. They will gear up for a challenging weekend as they take on the Division IV Champion, Richmond Heights Spartans, in the Play-By-Play Classic at Woodling Gym at Cleveland State University on Saturday at 7 p.m. 

The Wildcats will finish the weekend in Columbus when they take on the 4-0 Reynoldsburg Raiders in the Capital University Showcase. Tip-off is at 6:40 p.m. from The Capital Center.