HAYWARD — Wrenn Robinson scored 20 points behind hot outside shooting, while Stanford-bound Neal Begovich scored 15, but foul trouble proved to be the undoing in a 64-58 overtime loss to Moreau Catholic on Tuesday for a St. Ignatius boys’ basketball team still gelling and finding its place.
With a 28-8 foul disparity and a 41-6 gap in free throw attempts, the hosts only made 22 of their chances at the charity stripe, but such a massive gap allowed the Mariners (4-0) to take control in overtime.
“That’s not on the officials, that’s 100% on us,” said Wildcats head coach Rob Marcaletti. “We’ve been fouling too much in practice and it’s translating to games.”
During the overtime period, Moreau Catholic shot just 2-of-6 from the field and 10-for-18 from the line, but with three Wildcats — including Begovich — fouling out, the Mariners never trailed in the extra period, and took a nine-point lead with 1:11 left to effectively put the game away.
“We’ve got to do a better job of locking down and not using our hands,” said Marcaletti. “Ultimately, that was the game. They didn’t have to run an offense.”
St. Ignatius (1-4) trailed for nearly the entire game, including two early nine-point deficits after squandering an 11-0 run, but the Mariners’ lead never reached double-digits. The Wildcats tied the game at 14 early in the second on the first of Robinson’s five 3-pointers, and even though Moreau Catholic used seven points by Amil Fields, who finished with 17, to go back ahead by nine, the ‘Cats were able to close the gap to five by halftime.
Threes by Daniel Webster and Robinson gave the Wildcats a 32-31 lead in the third, their first advantage since the game’s opening basket, and Robinson’s fifth and final 3-pointer of the night tied the game at 39 heading into the fourth.
While Robinson scored 15 between the middle two periods, all coming from beyond the arc, it was Begovich who did most of the scoring in the first and fourth. He was credited with two points on a goaltending call with 4:19 left to give St. Ignatius a 41-40 lead, and after Moreau tied it at 45 on a 3-pointer by Glenn Byrd, Begovich put SI back in front with just over two minutes left. The Wildcats had a chance to grow the lead to four, but after a missed jumper, Leonard Turner tied it on a baseline drive and put Moreau back in front with another baseline move with 31.5 left. Begovich put back his own miss to tie it with 12.3 left, and with a Mariner off-balance three at the buzzer missing, the game went to overtime.
“Wrenn and Neal are going to make big shots,” said Marcaletti. “I love the pieces that we have. We’ve got guys; we’re just learning how to put pieces together. We’re just going through some growing pains. Come January, we’re going to be rolling. I really believe in these guys.”
Among those pieces is Malcolm McCray-Hill, who had eight points off the bench and matched Begovich with eight rebounds for the team lead. SI is still missing one key piece in Garrett Cason, a prolific rebounder and shot blocker who missed last year with a torn ACL and was plagued by knee injuries throughout his sophomore year. Those knee issues have persisted, and though he has been cleared for light activity, his status moving forward is uncertain.
Turner finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Mariners. David Hector scored 17 while Byrd and Fields each added 11. Moreau Catholic played without reigning MVAL MVP Max Anderson, who had been playing football through Saturday.
Other games: Miles Amos scored 33 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lift Stuart Hall (9-1) to a 76-70 win over Miramonte (3-2) in double overtime, while Sacred Heart Cathedral (4-0) survived a strong test from Lincoln (6-3), hanging on for a 57-52 road win.