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Boys Hoop: Wildcats Go Long Range to Defeat Cardinals

Claremont — Until Monday, Fall Mountain High coach Jason Bardis didn’t think he had a 3-point shooting team. But after the Wildcats dropped in eight such shots during a 67-59 win over Stevens, Bardis had to change his thinking.

“I told the kids at the half not to fall in love with the 3-point shot,” said Bardis, whose team drained six from long range in the first half . Those buckets keyed a 30-16 lead at intermission.

The Cardinals continue to leave Stevens coach Scott MacNamee scratching his head. He had been impressed by their recent efforts, but his troops came out flat Monday.

The Cardinals had a four-point first period and could not defend the Wildcats’ Ryan Murdoch. The sophomore had three successful shots from beyond the arc during the first eight minutes and five during the game.

MacNamee tried wholesale substitutions to generate offense in the first half, removing all five starters with 5:02 left to play and re-inserting them with 2:20 to go.

“Whomever is willing to play hard, that’s who I’ll put in there,” said the coach, whose team visits Newport on Thursday.

The loss overshadowed an outstanding game by Cardinal senior Jordan Haines, who turned in a 28-point, nine-rebound performance.

Fall Mountain led by no fewer than seven points during the fourth quarter, but Bardis said he didn’t feel comfortable until the final minutes. The result left Stevens at 4-8 while Fall Mountain improved to 7-4.

Because the Cardinals trailed all night there were times, particularly in the fourth quarter, when they had to foul. But they seemed to keep fouling the wrong foes. Nick Burns made 10 of 11 and Brandon Heath was 7 for 7.

After getting just 16 points during the first half, the Cardinals had a 43-point second half, including 25 points in the fourth quarter.

Ryan Tanguay hit a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter and it seemed to ignite a little fire in the Cardinals. They suddenly had no trouble scoring, but couldn’t make defensive stops.

Down 49-34 at the start of the final period, the Cardinals cut the gap to 59-51 with almost four minutes remaining.

It was at this point that Heath and Burns combined for six consecutive free throws and the Wildcats pulled away.

Nate White had 14-point game and combined with Haines for 42 of the Cardinals’ 59 points.

The duo combined for all 16 points in the first half. White also had eight rebounds.

Fall Mountain placed five players in double figures with Murdoch getting 17 — 15 on 3-point shots. Heath added 16, Burns 14 and Garrett Ward 10.