Cate celebrates an impressive non-league victory over Santa Ynez. | Credit: Victor Bryant

Mason Oetgen and Babacar Pouye scored 20 and 19 points respectively to lead the Cate basketball team to a 68-51 non-league victory over visiting Santa Ynez on Thursday night.

The win was the seventh straight for the Rams, who have caught fire recently after acclimating their football players late following their CIF championship run.

“What I love about Cate is the bigger the game, the more we get up for it,” said Cate head coach Andy Gil. “That’s a playoff team that potentially might win the Channel League, so we came in here ready to compete.”

After a back-and-forth first half, Cate pulled away after the break. The Rams opened the second half on an 11-2 run, capped off by a steal and face-break layup by Oetgen that increased their lead to 47-33. 

Santa Ynez never recovered from the Cate onslaught early in the second half, despite hot shooting from Jackson Ollenburger, who made five three-pointers in the first half on his way to 17 points and stellar all-around play from Landon Lassahn, who finished with a team-high 19 points. 

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“They hit some big shots. [Ollenburger] is a stud,” said Gil of the challenge Santa Ynez presented.

The Pirates (7-2) were without head coach Walter Tyler, who took a voluntary leave of absence for the game to “recharge” amid ongoing controversy regarding his future with the program.

The 6’6″ Pouye was a force on both ends of the court. Blessed with rare athleticism for his size, he delighted the home crowd with a couple of thunderous dunks in transition in the first half that highlighted his game-changing ability.

“I’ve been looking forward to this since I was a kid. My brother was on the team two years ago,” Pouye said. “It felt great. It was amazing to have my classmates out here.”

Cate will now head off to winter break and will open the second half of its season with a Frontier League game at Villanova on January 10, 2022.

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