Wildlife experts advise those who come face to face with a bear to remain calm in hopes that the animal will go away. That was the strategy taken by Lena Bramblett’s Patriots when the visiting Shawnee State Bears roared to a 12-0 lead Saturday in Mid-South Conference basketball. And, while the Bears didn’t go away, the calmness allowed the Patriots to play them on nearly even terms the remainder of the game in the 74-59 setback.
“I wasn’t really displeased because it isn’t that we didn’t play hard,” said Bramblett of the Patriots who fell to 17-6 overall and 4-6 in the MSC. “It was the fifth nationally ranked team we had played in a week and I think it wore on us mentally.”
Shawnee State, ranked 11th nationally, shot 52 percent for the game, and 63 percent in the second half, but still was able to only add two points to the final margin from the 31-18 lead they held at halftime. The Bears (18-4, 8-2) held the Patriots to 34 percent shooting for the field including 7-17 from three point range.
“The fact that we held on after a bad start says a lot about how this team has matured,” added Bramblett. “We just dug too big of a hole early and couldn’t catch up.”
The loss kept St. Catharine in seventh place in the conference which is led by Cumberlands at 10-0. But the Patriots are just one game behind Lindsey Wilson and Campbellsville who are tied for fourth place at 5-5.
Kasei Evans had 14 points to lead the Patriots and Riane Hofstraat added 10. The Bears held a slim 34-33 edge in rebounding as Evans led the patriots on the boards with nine rebounds.
St. Catharine will play next at west Virginia Tech in a non-conference game on Thursday. On Saturday they return to conference play at Rio Grande. The next home game is February 9th when conference rival UVA-Wise visits.