Ludden boys hoops claims showdown with J-D

Gaelic Knights wait until final minutes to take charge

— But another key player found himself in the third as well - Kaigler. The Ludden senior forward got his first basket of the night with 2:51 left to play in the quarter. They were Kaigler's lone points of the period, but were a sign of things to come.

The fourth quarter displayed just how scary Ludden is - not just to the Rams, but also to the entire state. Facing a 39-37 deficit, the Gaelic Knights started to capitalize on J-D’s foul trouble, scoring four straight points to take a 43-41 lead. They would never trail again.

Try as it could, J-D could get nothing going offensively against the big bodies of Ludden's front line - Kaigler, Rauch and Walser - that were finally clicking.

J-D was undersized and had almost no choice but to foul. As a result, Ludden was able to take a whopping 16 free throws in the quarter, making 11 of them, just two points fewer than what J-D mustered overall in the period.

No player epitomized J-D’s foul trouble more than senior guard Jafar Kinsey. When the Rams needed him to attack the basket in the fourth quarter, Kinsey, who finished with 11 points, had already amassed three fouls.

Kinsey's fourth foul came with 2:29 left, while J-D was fighting with a five-point gap it would never close. With 18.3 seconds left, Kinsey fouled out, and the Ludden student section, never oblivious to a chance at a chant, serenaded him with an “overrated” chant as he left the game.

With Kinsey on the bench, Kaigler punctuated the win with a two-handed slam as time expired, if only to make a statement - that Section III Class A was Ludden’s turf, at least for now.

Walser scored 16 points for the Gaelic Knights (8-0), followed by 14 points for Rauch, 13 points by Hackett, 11 points by Kaigler and six points by Hawk. For J-D, DeRegis finished with a game-high 18 points.

Ludden's next game is Tuesday, against Cortland. The 6-2 Red Rams will look to recover that same night against rival CBA, barely two weeks after Kinsey beat the Brothers on a last-second shot in the opening round of the Bottar-Leone Holiday Classic. J-D will play Riverside (Buffalo) next Sunday at 1:45 in the Pathfinder Zebra Classic at Onondaga Community College's Allyn Hall.

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