It was a tough night for the Saint Ignatius varsity basketball team. A young Wildcat lineup knew that this game was not going to be easy against a tough and experienced St. Edward Eagles squad.
With home-court advantage, the Eagles snagged an 87-64 victory on Friday evening in Lakewood.
The game started out slow for the Wildcats. Chase Toppin converted on a couple of drives for the Wildcats, but the Eagles’ offense fired out to a 26-13 lead after the first quarter.
The Eagles took a 30-13 lead one minute into the second quarter. The Wildcats then battled back and cut the lead to 40-30 with time winding down in the half.
Two men who lead the Wildcats in scoring were Chase Toppin and Lukas Bielek. The two guards combined to contribute 15 of the team’s 30 points at the intermission.
However, the Eagles got hot in the last minute. St. Edward hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to rouse the Eagles heading into the break. The score at halftime was 48-30.
On the first half performance, Head Coach Brian Becker ‘77 gave credit to the Eagles.
“Their better players beat our better players,” Coach Becker said. “We have a lot of young guys that haven’t played big time basketball games, and we weren’t able to make big plays offensively or defensively.”
In the third quarter, the Wildcats still tried to battle back. However, the visitors only decreased the lead two by two points, as the Eagles matched each basket the Wildcats converted. The score stood at 67-51 going into the final segment.
“The effort was there, we just need to clean up things,” Coach Becker said. “That’s fundamentals and that’s on me. It’s up to me to get these guys more fundamentally sound.
In the fourth, St. Edward pulled away, increasing the lead into the twenties. The Eagles took down the Wildcats by a margin of 23. The final score was 87-64.
One player who stood out for the Wildcats was Lukas Bielek, who topped the team with 24 points. Bielek showed a gritty effort, driving to the rim and hitting outside shots.
“Lukas is a good player who gets to the hoop really well,” Coach Becker said of the senior. “The last couple of weeks, he’s been making shots when we needed to. There’s always room to improve, but he’s certainly been a stellar player for us recently.”
Saturday night’s game has been cancelled due to snow in Columbus impacting travel for visiting Westerville South. The Wildcats’ next game will be at Cleveland Central Catholic next Saturday.