WASHINGTON — The Washington Catholic boys basketball team saw two double digit leads evaporate, but they made the plays needed for the victory.
The Cardinals (2-6) defeated Cannelton 50-45 Saturday night at the Bird Cage behind 13 points from AJ Sellers and nine points and 10 rebounds from Armando Ramirez.
After Cannelton outscored Washington Catholic 17-9 in the third quarter, the Cardinals watched a 30-18 lead go by the way side. A Tristan Simmons three-point play with 1:55 to go in the quarter gave the Bulldogs a 35-34 lead, the first lead of the night for Cannelton. Jon Mitchell answered with a 3-pointer to give the Cardinals a two-point lead heading into the final quarter.
When the fourth quarter began, the Cardinals got some important points from the bench. Zack Taylor's basket pushed the lead to five and Eric Zipperle hit two 3-pointers to push the lead to 46-35 with 5:10 to play in regulation.
"Since Christmas we have not had a lot of good practices, but one kid that has been having some very good practices has been (Eric) Zipperle," said Washington Catholic coach John Howell. "I've been very proud of what he's been doing. He played 26 minutes tonight, played very well and rebounded (7 rebounds) very well and hit two big shots. We've been on him all year to be ready to shoot the basketball, because when he's left wide open like that he can shoot the basketball. Tonight he didn't hesitate."
Cannelton slowly chipped away at the 11-point deficit, and with Jayden Morris' lone basket of the night pulled within three points, 46-43 with 2:13 to play. After a Bulldogs timeout, Brandon Strange and Sellers both split a pair of free throws to keep the lead at three with 1:08 to play. A Cannelton turnover with 59 seconds to play sealed its fate. Sellers and Strange each added one more free throw to close out the victory.