Gabe Knight scored 25 points to lead the Windsor boys basketball team over Cardinal Newman 58-44 Wednesday night in Santa Rosa.
“Knight is a great player,” Cardinal Newman coach Tom Bonfigli said. “Obviously he was the difference in the game.”
The Cardinals will need to find a way to shut down the Jaguars’ leading scorer the second time around in the North Bay League rivalry.
“It’s fun to play them,” Bonfigli said, “but next time we will do a much better job. We played really tough tonight, but they were just better than we were.”
Both teams entered Wednesday night’s contest undefeated in conference play at 2-0.
The visiting Jaguars took the lead early on 3-pointers by seniors Brent Tucker and Curtis Johnson.
The Cardinals kept it close throughout the first half but found themselves trailing 29-20 at halftime.
Bonfigli said Cardinal Newman struggled to sink buckets, especially from short range.
“We had a lot of good shots but we just didn’t make them,” he said. “You’ve got to put the ball in the hole.”
Cardinal Newman senior Conor McCarthy, who had six points and two rebounds, cut the Jaguars’ lead to two in the third quarter when he stole the ball at halfcourt and finished with a breakaway layup.
“We raised our defensive level but we need to do a better job of attacking the basket,” Bonfigli said.
With the lead cut to two, Knight responded for the Jaguars, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and blocking a shot. Knight scored 13 of his 25 points in the second half.
“Getting to the bucket was the biggest thing,” Knight said about the key to the Jaguars’ win.
“We just played harder and put more effort in.”
With two minutes remaining in the game, Windsor sealed the win when it forced a Cardinal Newman turnover, and on the ensuing inbound play found senior Parker Canady open under the basket, where he capped off the night with a dunk.
Canady finished with 12 points and two rebounds. Tucker finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Johnson added six points, two rebounds, an assist, a block and two steals, and senior Chaise Noles recorded four points and four rebounds for the Jaguars.
The Cardinals were led by junior Cody Baker, who recorded 12 points (on four 3-pointers) and four rebounds. Bennett Kohut scored eight points.
Cardinal Newman junior Gavin Dove added five points, and senior Seth Doolittle chipped in three points.
Five other Cardinals players added a basket to complete a total contribution from 10 different players.
Cardinal Newman dropped to 10-5 overall and 2-1 with their first conference loss. They travel to Ukiah on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff that Bonfigli said would be a big test.
The Jaguars improved their record to 11-3 and remain undefeated at 3-0 in the NBL.
“We played well defensively,” Knight said, “but we could always play better.”
Windsor will get a shot at improving when they face Casa Grande at home on Friday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
See more photos from this game by Press Democrat photographer Alvin Jornada at pressdemocrat.com.