CECILIA – In several ways, very little changed for the Teurlings Catholic Rebels on Friday night at Cecilia.
For starters, it was another road – make that the 17th straight game away from home for the Rebels,
It was yet another try to somehow slow down Cecilia scoring machine Jeremy Wiltz, who the Rebels hadn’t held under 30 points yet in his career.
It was a close, hotly-contested confrontation in District 5-4A. Certainly nothing new there either.
And oh yeah, a guy named Cole Kelley came through in a big way with a dramatic 3-pointer with six seconds left to lift the Rebels to a thrilling 59-56 road win over the Bulldogs.
Anything a little bit different?
Well, Wiltz was held to a good night of 19 points by some standards, but Teurlings coach Jake Dueitt took that with a smile. And then there’s the fact that the Rebels are now one of the teams to catch in the 5-4A race with a 2-0 start.
“That’s the way it is in this district,” said Kelley, who led all scorers with 21 points, along with six rebounds and six blocked shots. “You can’t look past any team. They just wouldn’t go away.”
Indeed, the Rebels (now 15-6, 2-0) built a couple of double-digit leads – 25-13 at 5:24 of the second quarter on Jansen Lormand’s 3-pointer and again at 46-34 on a Kelly 3-pointer at 2:37 of the third – but each time the Bulldogs came storming back.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Dueitt said. “They’ve got a good team. They just kept battling back. Give them credit.
“We just wanted to play loose on him (Wiltz) and front him when he got the paint.”
A six-point Wiltz run allowed Cecilia to halt the second Rebels’ double-digit lead and Kaleb Carter really got the Bulldogs close with a 3-pointer to end the third quarter down just 50-46.
That made the entire fourth quarter a nailbiter. It was a seesaw battle the entire period. Cecilia actually took its first lead of the game with 3:36 left on a Kenya Dartez 3-pointer off a Wiltz feed for a 56-54.
But after Kelley tied it with two free throws with 3:20 left, neither team would score again until the final seconds of the game.
Cecilia (now 11-7, 0-2) tried to run clock down on a possession that started with 1:19, but wasn’t able to do so. Eventually the game ended up with Kelley getting the ball on the right wing in the closing seconds and a potential overtime session looming.
“Coach was screaming for me to drive it on him, but he was playing too far off me,” Kelley said.
So instead, Kelley unleashed a 3-point attempt and he buried for the game-winning basket.
“I definitely wanted the ball in my hands,” Kelley said. “It definitely felt better doing that on the road, no doubt.”
Dueitt said afterwards that he wasn’t thrilled with the shot selection, but loved Kelley’s confidence.
“I wanted him to get it to the basket and maybe draw a foul,” Dueitt said, “but he had no doubts in his mind. If a kid shoots the ball with confidence, that’s all you can really ask for.”
Cecilia’s last-second desperation in-bounds pass was stolen by Lormand to ice the road victory.
While Wiltz was Cecilia’s only double-figure scorer, Ike Hidalgo has 12 and Ty Labrie 10 for the Rebels.
“That might have been Ty’s best game,” Dueitt said. “He really stepped up for us offensively, He normally guards the other team’s best player. He wants that challenge. He’s really an unsung guy for us.
“But tonight, he did some nice things for us offensively. We need him to score more. That was good to see.”