St. Ignatius shot 60 percent in the first half to race out to a 21-point lead but the Wildcats had to withstand a furious rally from SHC before eventually holding on to beat the Fightin’ Irish 68-60 in West Catholic Athletic League play.
Wildcats star senior point guard Trevor Dunbar led the way with 19 points, seven assists and six steals as St. Ignatius (14-4, 6-2 WCAL) remained a game behind first place Archbishop Mitty in the WCAL.
After SHC, which lost the first game this season between the two teams 70-39, used an 11-0 run to get within two, St. Ignatius needed a basket bad. With 2:28 left and the Wildcats leading 58-54, Dunbar calmly used his lightning-quick crossover dribble to create enough space to sink a stepback 3-pointer.
“If he didn’t hit that 3-pointer, I think we were going to have a lot of trouble winning this one,” St. Ignatius coach Tim Reardon said. “[Sacred Heart Cathedral] was getting all the rebounds, and they had all the momentum. Trevor kind of disappeared for five or six minutes in the second half, so for him to hit that shot was big for us.”
On the Wildcats’ next offensive possession, Dunbar sliced through the SHC defense for a three-point play as he got fouled laying it up.
“I try to hit buckets when my team needs me and I try to do whatever my team needs me to do, nothing more and nothing less,” Dunbar said.
SHC (12-6, 4-4) committed 18 turnovers — 12 in the first half — and shot 30 percent in the first half, but the Fightin’ Irish nearly overcame the big early deficit.
Freshman Alfred Hollins spurred the SHC rally with 11 second-half points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter.
However, SHC couldn’t figure out a way to slow down Dunbar. “I thought Dunbar in the first half really controlled the tempo, and he allowed the other guys to relax. We couldn’t guard him and he created so many open shots for them,” said Sacred Heart Cathedral coach Darrell Barbour said. “The disappointing part for us was we didn’t fight in the first half. But again, you just have to tip your cap to Dunbar because he set the tone for them.”