Busy Christmas break starts off nicely for Wildcat Basketball

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Lorez Valenzuela '19 drives to the basket in the fourth quarter of victory over Warren Harding.

SULLIVAN GYMNASIUM – This holiday season is a busy one for Wildcat Basketball, and after their loss to Solon, games vs. Canton McKinley and Warren Harding became even more important. Following the Solon game, the Wildcats were ranked 14th in the area by Cleveland.com. But 2 games in, the Cats are 2-0 on the break.

It was McKinley who took home the win last year at Memorial Field house after a valiant effort from Matt Davet to bring the Wildcats back within three but could not seal the deal. That was not the case this year.

Neeko Melendez ’18 continues to be a force from behind the arc

Canton McKinley stayed close with the Wildcats until the offense and Neeko Melendez caught fire at the start of the second quarter.  Coach Becker’s Wildcats held a 6 point lead at half but extended the lead to more than ten with back to back steals with a full court press.

A noticeable issue vs. Solon was the ability to break a full court press. This was clearly something that Coach Becker worked on in practice to avoid having their ball handlers trapped in the corners.

After a slow first half, Neeko Melendez made up for it  finishing the game with six three pointers, including some NBA range shots, and led the team with 20 points. Credit must be given to Tevin Jackson who has been controlling the floor in the first part of the season. He doesn’t put up a lot of points but he has shown his maturity in being able to control the offense and handle the ball. Jackson finished with six assists and three steals.

The Wildcats held onto their second half lead to defeat the Bulldogs 68-57. It was another solid comeback win to begin their holiday season.

The fun continued last night as the Wildcats defeated the Warren Harding Raiders in solid fashion 56-37. Luke Wiskes made the start for Aymin Bahhur and took advantage of the opportunity knocking down his first two three point shots to get the Wildcats rolling.

Dom Dinunzio ’18 grabs yet another offensive rebound Wednesday night against Warren Harding

At the end of the first the Wildcats only led by five but with a hot start to the second quarter their lead was up to 15 before halftime. When the second quarter came around the Wildcats were simply having fun on the floor.

Some nice finishes from Wiskes, Dinunzio, and Bielek capped of the Wildcats fifth victory of the season. Coach Becker credited the win to defense. The Wildcats forced 25 turnovers and pressured the ball causing the Raiders to shoot at a very low percentage all night. We have seen the ups and downs that the Wildcat offense has gone through so far this season so a consistent defense will go a long way on a sub par shooting night.

Wiskes led the way for the Wildcats with 13 points followed by another solid defensive performance and 10 points from Jon Barnes.

The Wildcats will play three more games before classes resume January 8th. Next on the schedule for the Wildcats is a trip down to Lebron James Arena where the Wildcats will take their 5-2 season record up against an always talented St. Vincent-St. Mary basketball team. The New Years Eve Tradition continues this Sunday at 3:30 PM following the 7-0 JV Wildcats at 2 PM.