SAN FRANCISCO — Two days before flying to Spokane, Washington to play in the illustrious Fitz Tournament, the St. Ignatius Wildcats got their season underway at home with a 72-39 win over Fremont (Oakland) that turned from a basketball game into a dunkfest.
The Wildcats closed the first quarter on a 19-2 run and hardly looked back from there, leading by 22 at halftime, 37 after three quarters and opening up a running clock in the fourth before Fremont (0-2) got the last few points as the hosts emptied their bench.
Freshman guard King-Jhsanni Wilhite made his much-anticipated debut, scoring 12 points in the win, but the biggest success for the ‘Cats came in their balanced scoring. Both Daniel Webster and Danny Ryan scored 11 points while Malcolm McCray-Hill announced his presence with three dunks, fitting in seamlessly as one of the most experienced players on the floor amidst a young roster.
“They play hard and they listen,” he said of the underclassmen. “I really appreciate that, because when I came up, I didn’t respond to criticism very well.”
Wilhite was accompanied by sophomores Rory Kenneally and GianCarlo Rivera, and a third sophomore, Ryan Conroy, will be on the floor constantly when healthy. He was out with illness, as was senior Zach Taylor-Smith.
“Our seniors are willing to take them under their wing,” head coach Rob Marcaletti said. “They want to win, they want to learn and they have a ton of questions.”
In Spokane, the Wildcats will take on regional powers Ferris and Mt. Spokane, who both boast players with Division I interest.
Fremont’s Marlo Lopez led all scorers on Tuesday with 25. The Tigers will return to McCullough Gymnasium at the end of the month to play in the Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic.