SYRACUSE Going into Friday night’s boys basketball contest between Bishop Ludden and East Syracuse Minoa, Gaelic Knights senior star Dan Kaigler knew he was only 11 points away from reaching the 1,000 mark for his career.
By the end of the first half, Kaigler was in the record books, and he didn’t stop there. Behind 24 points from Kaigler and 16 from fellow enior Ben Hackett, Ludden cruised to a 74-47 victory over the Spartans in its home opener.
This game part was essentially decided in the first quarter, with the score 21-5 in Ludden’s favor. Pat Donnelly’s big starting lineup, which consists of three players at 6’4 or over, employed a full-court press that had the Spartans looking uncomfortable from the get-go.
In particular, Kaigler was aggressive from the tip, scoring at will in the first quarter. By the time the second quarter rolled around, he was closing in on the milestone.
A beautiful spin move, leading to a left-handed layup, early in the second quarter gave Kaigler that 1,000th point, and the game immediately stopped while the gym applauded and honored Kaigler for several minutes.
The Spartans, led by Sean Richardson’s 15 points, fell to 1-2 on the season. They had difficulty contending with Ludden’s combination of size, strength, and chemistry.
Ludden’s nucleus has been playing together on the varsity level several years longer than that of ESM, and it showed Friday.
If the Spartans played man-to-man, Ludden immediately took advantage of their size. If ESM played zone, The Gaelic Knights immediately swung the ball around until they received an open shot. All night, the offense clicked due to those extra passes.
Ludden also dominated the boards all night, with both Kaigler and Jack Rauch pulling down 10 rebounds. Zach Walser pitched in with nine points. Along with Richardson’s 15 points and three 3-pointers, ESM teammate Corey Beeles played well on his way to 14 points.
Before hosting the Rosemary Corcoran Holiday Tournament on Dec. 27-28, Ludden plays twice next week, going to Fowler Tuesday and hosting Fulton on Friday.