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Cats head into districts in third place

Wes Combs drives to the hoop.It was an up and down week for the Wildcats basketball team going into this week’s district tournament. The Cats defeated Oakleaf easily, but stumbled against the Trinity Conquerors before coming back to beat Interlachen in the last seconds of Friday’s game.

The Wildcats opened the week with a 12-point win over Oakleaf on January 29. CeCe Jefferson had one of his more dominant halves of basketball with 12 points in the paint that helped propel BCHS to an early 6-point lead. The Cats were also sinking baskets from the perimeter in the half with Jesse Gardner hitting two three pointers and Charles Ruise Jr. one of the long bombs.

Gardner was on target throughout the night from the three point stripe. All 12 of his points came from outside the line.

BCHS led 35-29 at the half and kept the Knights at arm’s length while steadily building their lead. The key to the win was good free throw shooting from Johnny Lamb and Cameron Mack in the fourth quarter as the Knights fouled to get back in the game.

Ruise led the Cats with 17 points. Lamb had 15, Jefferson 14 and Mack 6.

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Rowdy win over Forrest

Jefferson gets the rebound and the basket.The Baker High varsity basketball Wildcats got a pair of big wins over district opponents the past week to help move them into the second spot in the district race. The Cats defeated Forrest on January 22 and Terry Parker three nights later in the BCHS gym. The wins moved the Cats to 16-4 overall and 2-2 in the district race.

To call the 75-66 win over Forrest hard fought would be an understatement. This was a chippy game that saw the visitors hit with technical fouls and a delay of game warning.

It was a battle under the basket with an excess of physical play. At one point the benches cleared when a scuffle broke out involving CeCe Jefferson and other  players.

The Wildcats and Rebels went basket for basket in the early going. Forrest nailed shots from the outside, including a trio of three pointers. Jesse Gardner and Johnny Lamb answered with long range shots of their own and at the end of the first period the score was knotted 16-16.

The Rebels continued to shoot the ball well in the first half and slowly pulled ahead of their hosts. They broke the tie and went into the intermission up by three points.

The quality of a good team shows in its ability to make adjustments to what an opponent is doing, and the Cats came out in the third period to shut down the Rebels’ top three scorers. None of them scored in the period and BCHS went on a 15-7 run that gave them a five-point edge going into the final quarter of the game.

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Three lady wrestlers breaking the mold at BCHS

From left: Catherine Davis, Jenna Reeves and Sydney Williams.Go to a BCHS wrestling match and you’ll find athleticism, intensity and hard working wrestlers. But  among those usual sights you might also come across something surprising.

Three of them actually.

The high school fields a trio of female wrestlers as part of the team. Catherine Davis, Jenna Reeves and Sydney Williams take the mat and wrestle male and female competition.

Wrestling is one of the few sports that went coed on the high school level. The reason is quite simple; it is played out in specific weight classifications so it doesn’t really matter whether the competitor is male or female.

Coach Adam Brunner, in his first year, enjoys coaching his lady wrestlers and has not altered his style at all because of their gender.

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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.

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