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The Wildcats Advance to District Play

By Eli Maistros '24, 03/06/24, 12:30PM EST


The Basketball Cats will face Lakewood in the District Semifinal on Wednesday night from Twinsburg High School.

OHIO CITY, OH - Saint Ignatius protected the home court for one final time in the 2023-2024 basketball season. With their Sectional Final victory over the Cuyahoga Falls Black Tigers, the Wildcats finished with a 10-0 record in their friendly confines, scoring 79.7 points a game and winning by an average of 27.4 points per contest. 

The top side in Division I was challenged by the visitors in the first quarter, with Head Basketball Coach Todd Taylor's squad having an answer for all of the Wildcat's blows. The game was tied 11-11 with two minutes left, but buckets by Kalli Johnson and Jimmy Thomas helped push the lead to 18-13 after one. 

Saint Ignatius took over in the second quarter, flexing their muscles with a 28-point quarter. The Wildcats' leading scorer, Jack Zapolnik, did most of his damage in the second, ending the first half with 13 of his 15 points. Mike Lamirand also hit two three-pointers, which gave the home team a 46-26 advantage at the break. 

It was more of the same for Head Basketball Coach Cam Joyce's squad in the third quarter, who once again outscored Cuyahoga Falls by double digits, using their blistering pace. Junior Damon Friery scored a majority of his points in the third, finishing as one of six Wildcats in double digits (Lamirand, Johnson, Matt Ellis, Thomas, Friery, Zapolnik) to increase the lead to 73-45.

SIBN Player of the Game vs. Cuyahoga Falls: Jimmy Thomas

The benches emptied in the fourth quarter as both reserves got valuable playoff minutes. Thomas scored six straight Wildcat points and the Saint Ignatius defense held the Black Tigers to only five points in the quarter. As the final buzzer sounded, the Wildcats started their playoff run with an 89-50 win. 

The Wildcats advance to the OHSAA District Semifinal to take on the Lakewood Rangers, who defeated the Hudson Explorers 58-55 in the Sectional Final on Saturday night. Tip-off from Twinsburg High School is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. 

The winner will advance to the District Championship to take on the winner of Elyria and Austintown Fitch, who will play on Thursday, March 7 at 7 p.m. The District Championship will be held at Twinsburg High School on Saturday, March 9, at 3 p.m.