Coming into game one of the 2018-19 season, the Saint Ignatius varsity basketball team was poised to start of the season with a bang. Led by Hall of Fame coach Brian Becker '77, the Wildcats did just that.
Coming off of last season’s senior-filled roster, the new faced Basketball Cats are ready to contend.
The Great Lakes Classic started off with a strong run for the Wildcats taking an early lead against the Lutheran East Falcons. The Wildcats played well in the first quarter, with Danny Nunez raining in an early three to push Ignatius ahead with an early lead.
Coach Becker took the Wildcats into the second quarter with a 6-point, 19-13.
Midway through the second, the Falcons surged on an 8-0 run, with the Wildcats only putting in one bucket for two. The Falcons pushed the Wildcats' guard-heavy lineup with a full court press, causing several turnovers.
Facing off against Lutheran East's big man, Nehemiah Benson, the Wildcats' 6’8 senior, Kevin Davet, led the scoring for the Wildcats with 7 points through the first two quarters.
At the half, the Falcons trailed, but pulled in 16 points with outstanding scoring from sophomore EJ Farmer and Nehemiah Benson. Coach Anthony Jones runs their swing offense through point guard Collin Albert.
Heading into the third of the Great Classic Showdown between the Cats and the Falcons, Saint Ignatius held a 36-29 lead.
In the third, Davet went to work. The center got the Wildcats hyped by slamming one home and drawing a foul. Davet hit the free throw to advance the Wildcats' advantage to 11 near the end of the third.
Headed into the final frame, Davet led the squad with 16 points. Senior Lukas Bielek had notched 7 points, sophomore Henry Raynor had tabbed 8 points off the bench, and junior Griffin Hanna had chipped in 9. The Wildcats held a nice lead, 56-43, at the start of the fourth.
Early in the final stanza, The Falcons make a 4-0 run to fright the Wildcats and squeeze the lead to 7.
Halfway through the fourth, the Great Lakes Classic turned into a 3-point showdown. Griffin Hanna and Chase Toppin poured in treys for the Wildcats, while Sirr Hughes and TJ Blevins tossed in 3-pointers for the Falcons.
At the end of an entertaining quarter, the Wildcats remained on top. Coach Becker and the Wildcats captured the 80-73 win the Lutheran East Falcons. By game's end, Davet upped his point total to 19 to lead the team. Toppin followed closely behind with 18, and Hanna scored 15.
Make sure to show up next Friday for the Wildcats' home opener! The JV and varsity squads will face off against Cleveland Heights in Sullivan Gym at 5:30 and 7 p.m., respectively. The SIBN will have live coverage of both contests.