Cardinal vs. Wickliffe boys basketball: Huskies' hot stretch continues on road vs. Blue Devils

Jan. 24—One of the benefits of having a veteran team is it usually has the fundamentals down pat.

Cardinal has seven seniors on its roster, several of which are in their third season on the varsity. It's no surprise the Huskies play like a well-oiled machine at both ends of the floor, and consequently are a contender to win the CVC Valley Division championship.

A recent hot streak continued for Cardinal in a CVC road game at Wickliffe on Jan. 24, as the Huskies overcame a slow start and early deficit and won going away, 61-43.

Cardinal (9-6, 5-1 CVC Valley) has won five of its last six games, and the lone loss in that span was by two points in overtime at Trinity.

Senior Jake Bean paced three Huskies in double digits with a game-high 22 points and six rebounds. When he wasn't scoring on athletic drives to the hoop, he was draining open 3s, or converting 6 of 7 from the free-throw line.

"Definitely defense tonight," Bean cited as the key to the win. "Our (focus) all season has been boxing out. Earlier in the season we were struggling with letting (teams) get second-chance opportunities. Capitalizing on fast-break offense was big for us tonight, too."

@cardinalhuskies senior Jake Bean, heading to Kent State on a baseball scholarship as one of the area's best pitchers, has been dominant on the court for the Huskies as well, and scored a game-high 22 points as Cardinal beat Wickliffe, 61-43. Here he reviews the victory pic.twitter.com/2GR56pAHI3

— Jay Kron (@TownCenter2) January 25, 2023

The work Cardinal has done in practice paid off, as the Huskies proved adept at boxing out for rebounds, scoring quick points in transition and passing efficiently in the halfcourt until open looks presented themselves.

Wickliffe (5-10, 3-4 CVC Valley) seemed to get into the flow it wanted early, taking a 10-3 lead after a Zack Beal triple.

Shortly thereafter, the Blue Devils were whistled for a technical foul, and the momentum shifted quickly.

A 14-0 run gave Cardinal a 17-10 lead early in the second quarter. Senior Paul Gall controlled the paint on the offensive end for the Huskies, using his frame to grab offensive boards and keep possessions alive.

"He's been playing really well," Cardinal coach Jon Cummins said of Gall. "I think he's had three or four games in a row of double-doubles. He does a lot of the little things, the dirty work. If he's not getting the rebound, he's keeping the (opponent's) big guy off the glass."

@cardinalhuskies coach Jon Cummins talks bout the Huskies' 61-43 win at Wickliffe pic.twitter.com/fJHbNuTXkm

— Jay Kron (@TownCenter2) January 25, 2023

Senior Tyler O'Brien hit his first of three treys to give Cardinal a 26-16 lead, and the Huskies were ahead, 31-19, at halftime.

Cardinal picked up where it left off in the second half, using a 10-0 run to extend its lead to 41-19.

Bean scored 10 of his points in the third frame, and O'Brien sank two more 3-balls and the Huskies took a 49-34 lead going into the fourth.

Pat Latkovich scored on a putback to cap an 8-0 Wickliffe run that made it 49-36 to open the fourth quarter, but the Huskies steadily pulled away until the final buzzer.

O'Brien finished with 13 points and Ethan Detweiler had 10 for Cardinal. The Huskies held a 42-34 rebounding advantage, paced by Gall's 12. Cardinal's work inside helped it get to the free throw line for 23 attempts, converting 14.

The Huskies shot 45% from the field (21 of 47), including 16 of 32 on two-point attempts.

"I've been trying to get these guys to turn it up a little bit," Cummins said of the Huskies' building on momentum. "I've got a lot of kids with some skill handling the ball, so it's penetrating and kicking, and getting by your guy.

"Then making the correct decision with it. Tonight it seemed like the correct decision was getting the ball to Jake. He made a lot of great plays offensively for us tonight."

More postgame chat with @cardinalhuskies coach Jon Cummins pic.twitter.com/6qMsI5U7Bj

— Jay Kron (@TownCenter2) January 25, 2023

Wickliffe couldn't sustain its early momentum, and the technical foul in the first quarter seemed to alter the game's tone. The Blue Devils had some success in the full-court press in forcing 13 turnovers, but too often the Huskies were able to beat the press and connect on layups or open shots.

"We started off really good, playing in transition and pushing the ball like we like to do," Wickliffe coach Marc Lewis said. "Then it was like the wind was taken out of our sails. That technical cost us."

@WHS_Blue_Devils coach Marc Lewis breaks down Wickliffe's 61-43 loss to Cardinal pic.twitter.com/hkGX6PlCK2

— Jay Kron (@TownCenter2) January 25, 2023

Wickliffe had plenty of good looks, hoisting up 67 shots to the Huskies' 47, but a seemingly invisible lid on the rim plagued the Blue Devils and led to a cold shooting night (16 of 67 for 24%).

Sophomore Walter Cable led Wickliffe with 12 points. Seniors Noah Telisman and Vince Gargiulo combined for 12 rebounds, and senior AJ Levon grabbed three steals.

"We had every kind of look we wanted, and everything we ran worked," Lewis said. "But for some reason there was a lid on the rim. We couldn't make a shot to save our life."

Bonus postgame chat with @WHS_Blue_Devils coach Marc Lewis pic.twitter.com/fzbyYULOlm

— Jay Kron (@TownCenter2) January 25, 2023

Both teams are back in action Jan. 27. Cardinal will host undefeated Cuyahoga Heights, and Wickliffe will travel to Conneaut in a nonconference matchup.