The new year has started very well for Lena Bramblett’s St. Catharine College basketball team. The Patriots headed out on the treacherous road of the Mid-South Conference and came home with two wins last week.
Thursday the Patriot women traveled to UVA-Wise and claimed a 78-66 win over the Cavaliers. On Saturday they edged Pikeville 86-83. The two wins improved the Patriots’ record to 15-3 overall and 2-3 in the MSC. In the last poll of 2011 they were in the “receiving votes” category of the NAIA national poll.
The Patriots return to Mid-South Conference action Saturday at Campbellsville who entered the week 12-6 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
Thursday in Wise, Virginia the Patriots built a 45-29 halftime lead, saw that dwindle to eight points after intermission, before settling for the 78-66 win.
The Cavaliers (2-13, 0-6) cut the lead to 65-57 with 4:46 to play on a basket by Chelsea Cluesman who scored a career high 28 points. But a 9-2 spurt by the Patriots allowed them breathing room down the stretch.
Four St. Catharine players were in double figures led by Courtney Milam’s 15 points. Reilly Poirier added 12 and Janae Howard and Kasei Evans had 10 each. Milam also led the Patriots on the boards with nine rebounds but UVA-Wise won the rebounding battle 48-42.
St. Catharine shot 43 percent from the field including 5-12 (42 percent) from three point range. The Cavaliers hit 42 percent overall but just 1-6 from behind the arc. The Patriots were 9-16 from the foul line while UVA-Wise made 13 of 23 charity tosses.
The Patriots again built a comfortable lead Saturday at Pikeville but found themselves in a battle before pulling out the 86-83 win. After trailing 41-31 lead at the break, the Bears (4-13, 0-6) stormed back to lead 57-49 with 12:29 to play.
It was then time for a Patriots’ rally as they fought back to tie the game at 75-75 on Milam’s trey with 3:33 to play. Pikeville regained the lead at 83-82 on a three point play by Sydni Wainscott with 14 seconds left. But Howard scored inside for St. Catharine with six seconds left and, following a Bears’ turnover, Howard hit another layup with two seconds remaining for the final three point margin.
Evans and Howard both recorded double-doubles. Howard had 26 points and 13 rebounds while Evans scored 24 points and also pulled down 13 caroms. Milam had 23 points on 9-14 shooting from the field.
St. Catharine won despite allowing the Bears to shoot 55 percent from the field while also canning 28 of 36 free throws. The Patriots were 43 percent from the field and 63 percent (17-27) from the foul line.