The Wildcat faithful hope that the varsity basketball team has finally turned the corner. The Cats are riding a three-game win streak going into the Florida First Coast Classic (see related story), and won two of those games this past week with home victories over Baldwin and Interlachen.
The wins gave the Cats a 3-5 record after losing their first three games. Coach Charles Ruise was upbeat and promised his team would “surprise people.”
It was sweet retribution for the Wildcats to beat the Indians, who had hammered BCHS in Baldwin 61-44 and dominated all aspects of the game early this season. The Cats returned the favor on December 13 with a 65-55 pasting of Baldwin.
For much of the game it was a nip and tuck affair with both teams trading basket for basket. BCHS got the early edge with three-point shots from Jesse Gardner and Cameron Mack to give them a slim 12-10 lead at the end of the first period.
BCHS continued to get solid minutes from all of their starters and despite trading shots with the Indians the whole first half, BCHS went into halftime with the slimmest of leads at 25-24.
They slowly edged ahead in the third period as Gardner nailed two more three-pointers. Marcus Gamble kept it close for Baldwin as he shot his way to a game high 21 points.
The Cats broke the game open in the final period as Mack got 10 of his 17 points and the Wildcats out scored Baldwin 26-20 to seal the win.
Gamble led all scorers with 21. Mack led the way for Baker with 17 and Gardner had 13. Charles Ruise Jr. stepped up his scoring with 9 points. Daryl Johnson had 9 for the Cats as 10 of 12 players got on the score sheet for BCHS.
• The Wildcats kept the ball rolling with a 71-49 rout of the Interlachen Rams. The game started close with both teams trading buckets and the score knotted at 14 all at the end of the first quarter.
But Daryl Johnson came alive with six big points in the paint in the second period and BCHS went on a 12-1 run. The swarming Wildcat defense turned the ball over a lot as Ruise went to his inside game.
Interlachen shook it off at halftime and played even in the third period. The Wildcats committed some pesky fouls and the Rams were laser-like in their foul shooting, hitting 10 of 12 from the free throw line.
Free throws were just about all that the Rams could manage in the second half, however, as BCHS went wild in the final period, hitting 29 points.
Johnson led all scorers with 17 points. Ruise had his best game of the year with 15 points, including a pair of threes. Gardner hit for 10 and Sean Fogurty, Johnny Lamb and Mack all contributed 8 points.