The Saint Ignatius Wildcats took on the always talented Canton McKinley Bulldogs in a historic venue being in the beautiful Canton Memorial Fieldhouse on Saturday evening. After losing the perfect 3-0 season to the Solon Comets, the Wildcats were looking for a nice win heading into the Christmas break.
It was not meant to be, however, as the Wildcats lost to the Bulldogs, 64-56.
Pushing into game five of the season, Coach Brian Becker ‘77 made adjustments after losing guard/forward Griffin Hanna to an injury for some time and Connor Cmiel’s return from injury.
After a low scoring first quarter, the Wildcats held the 18-8 lead against the sharpshooting Bulldogs. A strong performance by Jonathon Effertz and Chase Toppin made it possible, as both scored a quick 5 points for the Wildcats.
Moving into the second quarter, Effertz continued to lead the scoring charge with 13 points off the bench, while the Wildcats enjoyed a 39-27 lead over the 3-time state champion McKinley Bulldogs.
Holding the lead in the second half, the third quarter was definitely a struggle for Becker and the Wildcats.
McKinley’s hot shooting and smart press defense made a big difference, as the Bulldogs looked like a different team. McKinley surged to 19 points, while the Wildcats managed only 7 points in a tough period.
The Wildcats could not maintain their lead in the fourth quarter. Despite some chances, the Wildcats succumbed to Bulldogs in the fourth quarter, as McKinley continued its strong play on both ends.
With the loss, the Basketball Cats drop to 3-2 on the season heading into the Christmas break.
Be sure to attend next Saturday’s Garfield Heights Tournament with the Wildcats showcasing their talents at 6 p.m. against the Lake Catholic Cougars. Tune in on the SIBN for an audio only broadcast of your Saint Ignatius Wildcats.