Both Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. Ignatius came into the annual Bruce Mahoney matchup with only one loss but the Wildcats looked the part as they easily won 70-39. St. Ignatius took it to NCP's No. 12 ranked Fightin' Irish by storming to a 26-11 first quarter advantage. Senior point guard Trevor Dunbar helped set the pace for the Wildcats as they built their lead to 45-20 at the half.
Sacred Heart Cathedral was able to narrow the deficit to 45-26 to start the third quarter but St Ignatius built the lead back to 60-33 at the end of the quarter. The final quarter was mostly bench play as the Wildcats closed it out to win 70-39 to move to 8-1 while Sacred Heart drops to 8-2.
St. Ignatius was the unranked team going into this game but the Wildcats have the formula to be a solid team in West Catholic Athletic League play. They start five seniors headlined by Division I prospect, Dunbar. Senior forward 6-foot-8 Troy Rike mans the post while senior forward 6-foot-2 Julian Marcu is undersized in height but has 220 pounds to throw around. The bench has sophomore forward 6-foot-8 Arash Poorsina to provide solid defense and rebounding.
The Wildcats run their winning streak to six as their lone loss in the season is against an undefeated Jesuit team. The WCAL is loaded but balanced this season. This win is a good start for the Wildcats but it will be a tall order for them or any WCAL team to go through league play without a blemish.
Before the night, Sacred Heart's lone loss was to a Bishop Montgomery team from Torrance who is considered a national power this season. For the Irish to play this poorly, this loss can be considered an aberration. The team will still be one of the favorites in WCAL play.
The Fightin' Irish has a balanced starting five but the roster lists no one taller than 6-foot-5. But the group is a versatile and athletic bunch that is headlined by starting senior point guard Deondre Otis and senior forward Liam O'Reilly. But the development of the bench with freshmen Alfred Hollins and Ramzi Carter Jr will be key as they are both 6-foot-5, lean, athletic, versatile, and more skilled than their freshmen grade.
Players of Note
Trevor Dunbar 5-foot-10 PG St Ignatius (2014): Dunbar played effectively in the first half to pace the Wildcats to victory as he ended with 17 points. He had a few steals, directed the offense with his dribbling and passing, and was able to connect from the outside. The senior primarily holds several mid-major offers currently but is trying to breakthrough with a high major offer.
Troy Rike 6-foot-8 Post St Ignatius (2014): Rike helped set the early tone with a few scores in the post. The senior is undersized in the post and needs to develop his face up dribbling and scoring. But his frame and athleticism is serviceable at the lower college level as he scored 10 points in the win.
Arash Poorsina 6-foot-8 Post St Ignatius (2016): The sophomore went scoreless but came in when Rike had early foul trouble. Poorsina provided instant rebounding, had a few block shots, and was a defensive presence in the paint. He runs the floor well and looks to have a high ceiling as he still has another few years to develop.
Liam O'Reilly 6-foot-5 F Sacred Heart Cathedral (2014): O'Reilly was the only starter who was in sync early on as he displayed his offensive arsenal both in the post and perimeter. He led the Fightin' Irish with nine points. His ball handling and perimeter skills have potential as his future would have to be a wing or small forward at the next level.
Alfred Hollins 6-foot-5 W Sacred Heart Cathedral (2017): Hollins has the physical frame and potential to develop into one of the better 2017 prospects. He looks comfortable both inside and outside as he was aggressive in his offensive moves. Hollins looks to project to be more of a face up prospect.
Ramzi Carter Jr 6-foot-5 F Sacred Heart Cathedral (2017): The freshman is very similar in his physical frame and potential with classmate Hollins. But Carter Jr is more of a post player and did not handle the ball as much. He projects as more of a power forward prospect.