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Saint Ignatius holds on to beat St. Francis, stays in WCAL hunt

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Logan Johnson attempts a free throw for St. Francis on Wednesday. The game was decided at the free-throw line. (Ethan Kassel/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Coming off a pair of lackluster performances, St. Ignatius needed to fix its offense to stay in second place and remain in the hunt for the WCAL title. The Wildcats made those adjustments, topping third-place St. Francis 60-57 on Wednesday night.

Matt Redmond led all scorers with 23 points, but it was Brandon Beckman whose 3-pointer with under a minute to play gave the host Wildcats a lead. Logan Johnson’s layup cut the lead to one, but Beckman was fouled with 16.2 seconds to go. He made both free throws, and Darrion Trammell’s defense prevented St. Francis from getting an open look on the final possession.

It was fitting for Beckman to finish the game at the line: S.I. finished 10-for-12 at the charity stripe, while St. Francis made just three of nine attempts.

Beckman finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

“Our gameplan is to get us all shots,” Beckman said. “… We had looks for another guy whenever one got denied.”

That strategy worked as Redmond led the team with 23 points, Trammell added 12 and Robinson added eight.

The second half was a dogfight as neither team led by more than four points. There were nine ties and seven lead changes in the game’s final 16 minutes.

The first half was a bit more free-flowing, with St. Ignatius leading 19-13 after a quarter thanks to a 15-5 run. St. Francis outscored the Wildcats 11-2 over the final three minutes of the second quarter to take a 32-29 halftime lead.

Jake Mihanovic scored all of his seven points and grabbed ten of his team-high 11 rebounds in the first half for the visiting Lancers. Logan Johnson scored 14 of St. Francis’ 19 second-quarter points.

If there’s an area where the Wildcats still need to improve, it’s rebounding. St. Francis (15-4, 6-3) had a 38-31 advantage on the glass, including 19-9 on the offensive boards. The Lancers went into halftime with a 32-29 lead thanks to a 25-13 rebounding advantage, including nine offensive rebounds to just one for St. Ignatius.

Johnson, whose older brother, Tyler, plays for the Miami Heat, finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The win keeps St. Ignatius just a game behind Bellarmine, who improved to 8-0 in the WCAL and 18-1 on the season with a 61-50 overtime win over Sacred Heart Cathedral (8-11, 1-8). St. Ignatius will host Sacred Heart Cathedral on Saturday and Bellarmine will travel to St. Francis.

“Getting the ball moving in general for all of us,” coach Rob Marcaletti said. “We had to get our flow back; we had lost that along the way. That was our huge point of emphasis tonight, pushing the tempo and getting into the flow of what we wanted to do offensively.”

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