The St. Catharine Patriots (3-2, 0-1 MSC) kicked off conference play Thursday night when they hosted the #7 Pikeville Bears (6-1, 1-0 MSC).
With an impressive pre-conference slate behind them the Patriots were looking to create excitement in the MSC title race, as the Bears came to town. Fans didn’t have to wait long to find excitement as the Patriots got out of the gate quickly on the shooting of Omar Skinner (New Castle, Del.). Skinner nailed down 21 points on the night, propelling the Patriots to a 41-39 halftime advantage.
As the second half began, the Patriots silenced all doubters of their inside capability as the team in gold battled for 52 points in the paint. In fact, the Patriots gathered 37 rebounds on the night, leading to a 17-12 second chance point advantage. However, after the Bears erased a 16 point Patriot lead, overtime became eminent. In the overtime period both teams stayed neck and neck as neither team gained more than a three point advantage. Trailing by one with 4.2 seconds remaining the Patriots had one more chance, but were unable to complete the basket, as the Bears held on to the one point victory 94-93.
The Patriots will take on the Bluefield College Rams Saturday at 4 PM in Lourdes Hall, for yet another opportunity to gain ground in the conference.