KERENS — University of Hartford-bound senior Preston Anderson scored 33 points, including an NBA-range 3 and four big free throws in the fourth quarter, as the fifth-ranked Cayuga Wildcats held off No. 9 Kerens, 78-74, here Friday to clinch the District 18-A, Division I title.
After Cayuga had led all game, Kerens took the lead in the third quarter behind a 20-6 run led by Nate Betts. The sophomore star hit two free throws and a three-pointer to end the run, which gave Kerens a 56-52 lead late in the third quarter.
Cayuga held a one-point edge heading into the fourth quarter, and after Kerens took another lead at 61-60, Anderson made yet another play.
With Kerens inbounding the ball, Pat Boxie stole it and fed Anderson, who threw down a dunk to make it 62-61 Cayuga.
But, Betts answered back with a three of his own to give Kerens a two-point lead, which Cayuga’s Deon Shofner quickly erased with a sky hook in the lane to tie the game at 64.
On Cayuga’s next possession, Anderson hit that long three to make it 67-64, but Kerens didn’t stay down for long.
Tobyus Thomas drove the lane, made a lay-up and was fouled with just under three minutes to play. He made the ensuing foul shot to tie the game at 69, but Cayuga’s Hunter Jenkins, in only his second game back from injury, hit a big three — his sixth of the night — to give Cayuga a three-point lead once again at 72-69.
Cayuga then got another steal as Kerens tried to bring the ball up the court, and once again Anderson was involved.
This time, the big senior found fellow senior Shofner for a thundering alley-oop dunk that gave Cayuga a five-point lead with 1:35 left.
Thomas immediately answered for Kerens with a jumper to cut the lead back to three at 74-71, and Kerens got back to within one with 1:05 left after a steal and a lay-up from Thomas thanks to some crisp Bobcat passing on the fast break.