Cardinals strum Bobcats to net 3rd place
By Ronnie Hughes
ORANGEFIELD — The Bridge City Cardinals traveled across the bayou Friday night to face their rival in what would be the Orangefield Bobcats final home game of 2016. Both teams struggled to find any consistent offense, but ultimately it was the stellar defense of the Cardinals that led to the 45-30 Big Red victory.
The win pushes the Cardinals to 6-5 in 24-4A play while the Bobcats slipped to 2-9.
It was Dane Piper getting the Cards off to a quick start. He’d battle the boards hard and put back-to-back to quick baskets for the early Cardinal advantage.
The Bobcats found no such of answer of their own as they had great looks at the basket, but it just wasn’t bouncing their way. After the first quarter of play the score was just 9-3 with Wesley Frillou hitting a three for the Bobcats with thirty seconds left to save what was almost a scoreless quarter.
Frillou had 11 points on the night to lead all Bobcat scorers.
The Cardinals picked up the pace to open the second quarter with Graydon Glover grabbing a steal and going the distance for an easy lay-up basket.
Despite the lead the Cardinals struggled against the press of the Bobcats defense. The usually hot-handed Ryan Mirabellawas held to just three first-half points and was 0-6 shooting from downtown on the night.
The Bobcat offensive woes continued into the second quarter. Baskets negated by traveling, missed free-throws and foul trouble led to a one-point quarter which seen the Bobcats trailing 20-4 at the half.
The Bobcats adjusted accordingly at the half and came out playing much more stable basketball and forced Bridge City into several quick turnovers.
Frillou hit his second three-pointer of the night to open the scoring and the Bobcats’ biggest run of the night to pull within 9 points with 2:30 left in the third quarter. Mirabella started to warm up for the Cardinals and ended the Bobcat streak with a steal and quick bucket. He’d get fouled on the possession and notch both free-throws to give the Cardinals a 30-18 lead after three complete quarters of play. Mirabella ended the night with 12 points to lead all scorers.
Payton Lathrop hit a long range jumper to start the fourth for Orangefield to keep them within 10 points of the lead. The Cardinals however kept the pressure on the Cats forcing fouls, turnovers and ending the slight momentum the Cats’ were gaining.
Chason Burch entered the game late for the Cardinals and hit two crucial baskets to make the score 42-27 which was the final blow to the Bobcats. Frillou again hit a three with just a minute remaining to shed some light on what was a rather stagnant offensive performance.
Piper had 8 points, 9 rebound and 4 blocks on the night which helped the Cardinals clinch third place in District 24-4A and a postseason appearance after LC-M fell to West Orange-Stark. The Cardinals will wrap up district play Tuesday at home against Hamshire Fannett. The Bobcats will travel across town to finish their season at LC-M.