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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
The Orrick Bearcats finally got a huge monkey off their backs Thursday night in the consolation semifinals of the I-70 Conference Tournament. The Bearcats broke their 65-game losing streak by dumping Santa Fe 62-56 to get back in the victory column for the first time since defeating the Bulldogs at Hardin-Central 59-33 Jan. 28, 2011.
Bearcat coach Jared McMahon said his team continued to work hard to break the string.
“These young men have worked extremely hard and deserved every bit of that win,” he said. “I was very proud of every one of them and had a lot of players step up big. That win was something those boys should be proud of and I’m hoping it will be a catalyst for confidence and continued effort as we take this season one game at a time.”
Orrick made the most of its opportunities at the free throw line. The Bearcats visited the stripe 36 times in the game and was good on 18 of those trips, while Santa Fe made half of its 12 attempts for the night.
Mason Karnes and Tanner Wyse paced Orrick in the victory. Wyse scored a team-high 22 points, with Karnes adding 21. Wyse, who also pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds, made all six of his free throw attempts, while Karnes made 8 of 10 from the stripe, but was perfect on four fourth-quarter tries. Orrick was 9 of 14 from the free throw line in the final quarter.
Each team ended the first period with 14 points and the contest was tied 27-27 by the intermission. Wyse and Karnes got the Bearcat offense going in the third quarter with Wyse scoring 10 and Karnes adding 8 points as Orrick took a 47-41 lead into the final 8 minutes.