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Narrow margins in Cats’ win, loss

Charles RuiseIt was a rough and tumble week for the Wildcat basketball team with a loss on the road to Baldwin and, for the second time this season, a razor-thin win over West Nassau.

The Cats have split with Baldwin this season, winning at home by four points and losing on the road by two points.

Last Thursday’s loss to the Indians was very frustrating. The Indians controlled the game early, at one point running up a 20-point lead. But in the second half the Wildcats scratched their way back into contention behind a career-night shooting from Johnny Lamb, only to lose by a bucket, 63-61.

Baldwin controlled the first half, starting fast behind a hot shooting Terry Stripling and running out to an 18-10 lead. The Indians extended it in the second period, despite Lamb scoring nine of the Cats’ 13 second-period points. The Indians led 43-23 at the half in what had the looks of a runaway victory for the hosts.

But the game was one of two separate halves and starting with the third period whistle the Cats began to exert themselves, especially in the paint. Lamb was impressive on the inside, leading all scorers with 26 points. The Cats clawed their way back in the third period, then went on a 23-10 run in the fourth quarter.

By the end of the game it was both teams trading basket for basket as the Cats hoped there would be enough time on the clock for them to pull even.

In the end the Indians held them at arm’s length for the win. Lamb led all Wildcat scorers. Charles Ruise Jr. had 13, Cameron Mack and CeCe Jefferson 8.

• The match against West Nassau in Callahan on January 11 was nothing like the previous night’s game against Baldwin. It was basket for basket from the first whistle with both teams evenly matched.

Earlier in the season, the Wildcats won by one point over the Warriors and they repeated the feat with the 49-48 victory.

 

The key to the comeback against Baldwin had been inside play. On Friday it was outside shooting coupled with strong work in the lane. Ruise shot the ball well from the perimeter and hit key free throws near the end in what proved to be the deciding point of the game.

The teams battled back and forth with the game tied at 13 at the end of the first period and 28-28 at the halftime break.

West Nassau got a narrow one-point edge in the third period behind strong shooting from forward Keith George. But the Wildcats pulled ahead in the fourth period and when the Warriors tried to foul to get the ball back, BCHS hit 7 of 8 shots from the charity stripe to seal the game.

George led all scorers with 23 points for West Nassau. Ruise had 21 for BCHS. Lamb and Mack had 8 points apiece.

The Wildcats have a big district game on the road at Bishop Kenny on Friday, January 18.

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