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Preston Anderson + No. 5 Cayuga Clinch District With Thriller Over Ninth-Ranked Kerens

KERENS — When his team needed him the most, Cayuga star Preston Anderson embraced the spotlight.

The Wildcats senior, who has signed to play at the University of Hartford, scored 33 points, including seven in the fourth quarter, leading the fifth-ranked Wildcats to a wild, 78-74 win over No. 9 Kerens on Friday. The win clinched the District 18-A Division I title for the Wildcats.

Anderson and Kerens star Nate Betts went toe-to-toe all game long, both scoring 33 in the contest that had the atmosphere of a late-round playoff game from the opening tip.

Cayuga (23-6, 9-0) led most of the game, but Kerens (18-7, 7-2) opened the third quarter on a 20-6 run that gave the Bobcats a four-point lead, their biggest of the night.

But, it didn’t last.

Cayuga took a one-point lead into the final quarter. After Kerens took a one point lead, Anderson got it back with a monster dunk — his second of the night — after a steal to put Cayuga up 62-61.

The team’s traded baskets and runs for most of the quarter until Hunter Jenkins put his team up for good with two minutes to play.

The senior, who has missed most of the season with an injury, made a dagger 3 — the last of his six on the night — to give Cayuga a 72-69 lead. Anderson followed up with a steal and a lob alley-oop dunk to Deon Shofner to put Cayuga up five.

Kerens answered with a jumper from Tobyus Thomas and then a steal and a layup by Thomas to cut the lead to 74-73, but Kerens could never get over the hump.

Anderson hit four free throws in the final minute to seal the game, while Thomas missed both free throws with eight seconds remaining and his team down two, effectively ending the game. He was then assessed a technical foul, and Anderson put both of those foul shots away to ice the game.

Jenkins added 18 to Anderson’s 33, while Shofner had 14 and Chandler Rigdon added nine.

Betts led Kerens with his 33, while Thomas had 14.

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