After a week of not playing a game, the Saint Ignatius varsity basketball fell to the Cleveland Central Catholic Ironmen in the Saint Stanislaus Social Center on a snowy Saturday afternoon.
The game started out even, with both teams playing fast-paced basketball. The score at the end of the first quarter was 13-12, the Ironmen ahead.
In the second quarter, the Wildcats pulled ahead, scoring 22 points in the stanza. The halftime score was 34-26 in favor of Wildcats.
But the Ironmen got hot in the third quarter. The hosts sank five 3-pointers to place them squarely back in the game. The Ironmen did not commit any turnovers in the quarter, taking care of the basketball well. Even still, the Wildcats held the advantage at end of the third, 47-44.
Head Coach Brian Becker ‘77 complimented CCC’s third quarter performance after the game.
“They got extremely hot, they made five three balls,” Coach Becker said. “Our defense wasn’t bad, some of those three balls were shots that I’m willing to give up. They had kids taking 27-foot jump shots, they’re either going to make those and narrow the lead, or miss them and keep the lead around 15.”
The fourth quarter and overtime were chaotic, to say the least.
The two teams were neck-and-neck for eight minutes. The score was going back and forth with a rapid pace.
The last minute of the fourth was probably the most bizzare the Wildcats have seen in awhile. The visitors found themselves down two late in the game. Trailing by one, the Wildcats fouled former Wildcat point guard Tevin Jackson with eight seconds left on the clock.
The Ironmen were in the double bonus, and had two free throws to shoot. Jackson missed the first one. As he was shooting the second one, the Cleveland Central Catholic coach made an illegal substitution. This caused a three minute debate between the referees and the coaches, eventually resulting in a technical foul on the Ironmen.
But Jackson was still owed one free throw to shoot. Fortunately, for the Wildcats, Jackson missed his free throw.
Coach Becker had the opportunity to put his best free throw shooter on the line, and get the ball back for the last shot. Lukas Bielek made both of the technical free throws, tying the game.
The inbound pass after the free throws was intended for Bielek, but was right on the half court line. Trying not to commit a backcourt violation and turn the ball over, Bielek attempted to throw the ball to a teammate, but the pass was intercepted by an Ironmen defender.
The defender had a wide open lane to the hoop on a fast break, but seemed to forget the time on the clock, or wanted to play for overtime, because he stopped at half court and dribbled out the clock.
The game stood tied at 63 going into overtime.
The Wildcats worked hard in overtime, but could not find a way to score. The Ironmen did not have any miscues in the extra time, tallying nine points to earn the victory. The final score of the game was 72-66.
“I thought the effort was good, but it comes down to playing hard for 32 minutes, not 16, 18, or 20,” Coach Becker said. “Each and every possession contributes to a win or loss. We had some possessions in the first half that weren’t great, and we missed some crucial free throws. We just have to play a more complete game.”
The next opponent for the Wildcats is the Villa Angela Saint Joseph Vikings. The two opponents will play on the road in the Purple Palace on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The JV game starts at 5:30 and the varsity start at 7 p.m. Both games can be heard on the SIBN.