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Wildcats struggle

All-American Winter Park Wildcat forward Austin Rivers.

All-American Winter Park Wildcat forward Austin Rivers.

Isaac Babcock

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Winter Park’s boys basketball team has continued to pursue some of the toughest teams in the nation in the past two weeks. Their schedule has spread out more as they’ve traveled the country, with the Wildcats (15-6, 8-0) facing tough losses against St. Patrick and in Milwaukee.

Against St. Patrick on Jan. 14, the Wildcats were down by as much as 20 points before rallying late to try to catch up to the Celtics from Elizabeth, N.J. But the Wildcats couldn’t rally fast enough to cover the gap, losing 75-66.

“We’ve been coming out too slow,” Winter Park’s Austin Rivers said.

Rivers put on a show against St. Patrick, picking up 38 points and 5 rebounds.

Against the Boys and Girls school at the Brandon Jennings Invitational, the Wildcats pushed a stalemate into overtime thanks to Rivers’ stellar shooting again.

The Wildcats’ star picked up 35 points and 9 rebounds in the game. But again, the Wildcats had trouble in the end, watching the Kangaroos nail a crucial shot near the end of OT to edge them out in an 81-79 win.

Brett Comer had 16 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks in the game to help pace the Wildcats in three categories.

Now the Wildcats face another 10 days off before they host Heritage High School from Palm Bay. The Panthers are 12-8 overall.

With only a few games left in the regular season, the Wildcats are readying for the playoffs after going undefeated in district play, guaranteeing them a slot in the postseason.