A large hurdle for the Bishop Ludden boys basketball team was passed on Jan. 10 when it turned back Jamesville-DeWitt in a clash of Class A favorites.
Yet the Gaelic Knights knew that a lot of regular-season challenges lay ahead, including last Tuesday night’s visit to Cortland, where this time it didn’t wait to assert itself, leading most of the way as it beat the Purple Tigers 73-60.
With a 7-2 record and home-court advantage, Cortland was fired up to go after Ludden. Unlike J-D, though, the Purple Tigers had to deal with a full Ludden starting five from the outset, and that made a critical difference.
By the time the first quarter was done, the Gaelic Knights enjoyed a 24-13 lead. Still, over the game’s middle stages, it could not put Cortland away, seeing the Purple Tigers move within single digits, 51-43, by the time they reached the final period.
To hang on, Ludden needed all five of its starters to score in double figures. Jack Rauch, with 20 points, led the way, while Dan Kaigler and Ben Hackett matched each other with 15 points. Kyle Hawk stepped up for 12 points, with Zach Walser managing 11 points.
Cortland could not match that type of production, as only Sage Brown (20 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals) and Nick Craig (11 points) hit double figures, though Quinn Kennedy (nine points) and Teddy Phillips (eight points) lagged right behind.
It proved much easier for Ludden Friday night as it rolled past visiting Homer 66-46, a game decided long before the final horn as the Gaelic Knights gained a 51-22 lead by the end of the third quarter before letting the starters rest.
Kaigler had 18 points, one less than the Trojans’ top scorer, Rex Ryan, but he had far more help as 10 different Ludden players had field goals on the night. Walser managed 12 points, with Jack Rauch getting seven points. Hackett and Tim Rooney had six points apiece.