Lowell High School point guard Jorell Cacatian started off slowly in the Cardinals’ nonleague matchup against Urban School, but after Urban’s Nate Cohen sent the game to overtime on a 3-pointer at the buzzer, Cacatian took over.
The junior would equal his point total in regulation with seven of Lowell’s 11 points in overtime to lead the Cardinals to a 56-53 win on Tuesday at Lowell High School.
“It’s not the first time he’s hit some big shots and had some six, seven or eight point [moments] in games,” Lowell coach Robert Ray said of Cacatian, who is a first-year vasity player. “It’s always nice when a junior, new to the system and new to the team, can step up in big moments like that.”
Most of Cacatian’s points in overtime came on two clutch 3-pointers, but it was two key free throws at the end of regulation that may have got the ball rolling. With Lowell up 43-42, Cacatian hit two free throws that only allowed the Blues to tie the game on Cohen’s buzzer-beater.
“It was good to see something fall and when I’m hitting free throws it really gets me into a groove,” Cacatian said. “I never lost confidence in my shot, because during halftime [warmups] I didn’t miss and I was really feeling it.”
The win was a welcome feeling for the Cardinals, who had dropped two consecutive games after starting the season 4-1.
“We needed a win at this time, but we just seem to find a way to keep other teams in it,” Ray said. “Turnovers, bad decisions and breaks just never seem to come our way in the past few games. The good news is we can fix it all, but hopefully it’s sooner than later.”
While Cacatian’s play in overtime may have been the difference, the undisputed star of the night was Cohen, only a sophomore, who had a game-high 18 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter.
After Cacatian’s last free throw with 4 seconds remaining in regulation, Cohen quickly advanced the ball over the timeline and knocked down the 3-pointer in transition at the buzzer.
“He made some big plays, but the team did a good job to get him into position to make those plays,” said first-year Urban head coach Joseph Skiffer. “It was definitely an exciting game, but at the end of the day you want to win those.”
The Blues, who start three sophomores, have dropped their past three games after a 5-0 start, but Skiffer is still looking to challenge Bay Counties League West frontrunners this season.
“We’re learning on the go and I hope through each game we try to get better toward the BCL [West] season,” Skiffer said. “In all respect to University, we want to win the league too. We all respect them, but we’re trying to win the championship as well.”
University 82, Mission 66
Columbia-bound Noah Springwater led all scorers with 25 points, 12 rebounds and four steals as the Red Devils (6-1) cruised to a win over the visiting Bears (2-6), which got a team-high 18 points from sophomore guard Antoine Porter.
Bonta Hill contributed to this report.