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Cathedral boys basketball win first district game

By Bill Barksdale

Special to The Democrat

CLINTON — A strong three quarters of play were enough to give Cathedral varsity boys’ basketball team (11-10, 1-2) their first district win of the year.  The Green Wave defeated Silliman Institute 53-49 on Tuesday night.

Cathedral came out strong with 15 points each quarter and a full court press defense which put Silliman on its heels.  After the first few goals, the Green Wave would take the lead and hold it for the remainder of the game.

Cathedral added a new player to their starting roster, sophomore Christian Wright, a transfer student from Vidalia High School who has been practicing with the team all year but Tuesday night was the first game he could play due to league protocols. Cathedral Head Coach Taylor Strahan said Christian Wright gave the Green Wave a spark offensively, hitting a lot of free throws and was aggressive.

Christian scored 13 points on the night, just behind Kaden Batieste who had 15. Wright said he felt like he was able to go hard to the basket and was pleased with his mid-range pullup shot. 

“I like the atmosphere at Cathedral,” Wright said. “I already knew everyone before I enrolled, playing with JT (Taylor) and Kaden (Batieste) tonight was great because we combined forces so well.”

As the third quarter finished, the Green Wave was ahead by fourteen points, as Silliman’s Justin Pace and Hastings Dawson bordered on foul trouble with four each.

“The first three quarters were almost as good as we’ve played all season,” Strahan said.

But when the fourth quarter began, Silliman came out strong, slicing the lead to five.  Cathedral had several forced and unforced turnovers which risked their victory.  Suddenly what had been 15-point quarters from Cathedral was down to eight baskets. 

“They were very good at quickly getting back on offense, and we were too slow at times,” said Wright. 

It took several Cathedral timeouts and coaching from Strahan to stop their fast pace and get the team to run the clock.

Almost all of Silliman’s second half fouls came in the fourth quarter, requiring multiple consecutive fouls before the bonus period finally came. Cathedral rose to the occasion and shot 72% from the free throw line on the night. They never surrendered the lead and won by four points.    

“Everyone played well who came off the bench, no one tried to do too much by themselves,” Strahan said. “We talked prior to the game that each player could be a star in their own role. Coming off the bench for 2.5 minutes is as important as any other role and I was proud of them for how they did that tonight.”