ST. IGNATIUS — A truly horrendous start doomed St. Ignatius on Wednesday night as the Wildcats dug themselves into a 25-3 hole, missing their first 14 shots and going without a field goal for the first 12 minutes and four seconds in what would ultimately be a 47-34 loss to the Bellarmine Bells.
The Wildcats have now dropped two straight games and three of their last four to fall to 4-4 in WCAL play, and they need to finish at .500 in league play to qualify for the CCS playoffs.
After getting into that 22-point hole, SI did finally start to make a push, cutting the lead to 15 with 2:08 left in the first half on a Neal Begovich free throw.
“We were just hoping to get it to 10 before the half and make some adjustments at halftime,” said head coach Rob Marcaletti.
Bellarmine (14-4, 5-3 WCAL) had other plans, closing the half on a 6-2 run to take a 19-point advantage into the break, bringing the lead to 31-10 before a Sam Nangle putback to end the half.
“The coaches have been working with me and weight training’s been helping a lot,” said Nangle, who had dealt with injuries and struggled throughout the year but made an impact off the bench on Wednesday with five points and seven rebounds.
Nangle was one of the few bright spots on Wednesday for St. Ignatius (8-10, 4-4), as the Wildcats shot an abysmal 11-for-53 from the field and did themselves few favors from the free throw line, where they shot 10-for-18 and went just 4-for-10 in the third quarter to waste chances to get back into the game.
After allowing 19 points in the first quarter, the ‘Cats did manage to tighten up on defense and cut the deficit to 33-22 midway through the third on a long jumper by Wrenn Robinson and had chances to get within single-digits after a Bellarmine offensive foul, but they would waste two offensive rebounds. Kiran Kruse connected for three of his game-high 13 points at the other end to reopen a 14-point lead, and the Bells would close the third up 38-25.
The one last major chance for SI came early in the fourth after cutting the lead to 12 on a Jackson Canady lay-in, but Begovich’s 3-pointer rimmed out after going halfway down and start a five-minute scoreless drought, with Bellarmine reopening a 19-point advantage before a Nangle three with 2:33 left finally stopped the bleeding.
Kruse was the lone player to reach double-figures for Bellarmine, but Quinn Denker added seven, Constantijn Cole scored six and played excellent interior defense and Ian Elam finished with five points and eight rebounds. Cole Troedson also scored five, including a pull-up three to end the first quarter.
Begovich and Robinson led the Wildcats with 10 points apiece.
Mitty 82, Sacred Heart Cathedral 54: The visiting Monarchs scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to run away from the Fightin’ Irish and move into a tie for first place with Riordan as the Crusaders were upset by St. Francis. Sacred Heart Cathedral (9-9, 2-6) trailed by eight at halftime and 13 at the start of the fourth but would get wiped away down the stretch. Mitty (12-6, 6-2) got 19 points from Michael Mitchell, 18 points and 10 rebounds from Devan Sapp and 10 points from Owen Browne, while the Irish got 13 points from Elijah Flowers and 11 from Osin McCormack.
Serra 69, Valley Christian 66: The Warriors made things interesting on their home court, but Serra held off a late charge to win a 29th consecutive head-to-head meeting, having last lost to Valley Christian in 2005. Parker McDonald led all scorers with 21 for Serra (13-5, 5-3), Cade Rees added 16 and Antonio Abeyta dropped in 13, while Valley Christian (10-8, 1-7) got 19 points and 11 rebounds from Skylar Loving-Black, 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks from Jay Allen-Tovar and 13 points from Colin McCulloch.