On Friday, the boys basketball team grabbed a huge win over the 10-1 MICDS Rams to propel their record to 8-3. The game was a rematch for the Wildcats after the underwhelming effort in the MICDS Tip-Off Tournament championship game where the Rams were in control every play, winning 47-38. This game for the Wildcats was not just another Friday night game on the schedule for the Blue Crew to pop out to, for this game was the biggest one of the year thus far.
This game was personal.
In the game earlier this season against the tough Rams team, quite a few things went wrong for our beloved Wildcats, the first being that MICDS controlled the glass. Whether it was on offense or defense, the MICDS big men kept grabbing rebounds and putting the ball back up for a second chance bucket. At the end of the game, the Rams ended up out rebounding us 28-21. Coach Ribble knew that going into the next game, they had to be more aggressive on rebounding opportunities and box out the Rams big men.
Another thing that did not go right for the Wildcats was the shots just simply were not falling. Rebounds and steals are a great way to win a basketball game, but at the end of the day, the team who puts the ball in the basket more wins, and that was not happening for Westminster. There was no chance to get the ball to the big men in the middle, so they had to work around the outside, swinging it around hoping to get a wide open Casen Lawrence or Matt George three-pointer, but it just did not happen. The Wildcats made 13-48 field goals in that game and also made 5-27 3 pointers. Having a 27% field goal percentage and shooting 19% from beyond the arc is not going to cut it against a team as good as MICDS.
As tip-off rolled around, the team looked as ready as they would ever be. Coach Ribble went for quite a different look in the starting lineup with Casen Lawrence, Kobi Williams, EJ Williams, Brennan Orf, and Austin Vick. Having Vick and Orf down low was a good call to start the game due to the fact that they were going to need help to neutralize the MICDS big men.
In the first quarter of the game, it was all Wildcats. Austin Vick was playing his best game of basketball all season on both sides of the court, grabbing boards and boxing out on defense while also posting up offensively. The highlight of the first quarter was Westminster star player Brennan Orf knocking down his first three-pointer of the season and the third in his high school career. The first quarter ended with a slight spark in the Rams offense, putting the score at 13-7 in favor of the Wildcats.
Quarter two of the game was when the Wildcat fans began to shake their heads. Though they had the lead for the entire quarter, MICDS is not a team that you want to be that close to. After coming out firing in the first quarter, it almost looked like they were playing timid in quarter two, not playing as loose and missing a few wide open shot opportunities. The spark for the Wildcat offense in that quarter was seeing Matt George hit a nice wide open three on his first attempt of the night to put the Cats at a cozier lead. However, MICDS kept answering with buckets of their own. The half ended with the Wildcats up 21-18.
The third quarter was the lowest scoring quarter for the Wildcats as they scored only eight points. The bright side of the quarter was that MICDS could only scrounge up nine points thanks to excellent defense by sophomore EJ Williams. Once the half started, EJ Williams came right out of the gates and was constantly trying to strip the ball. Williams also had five rebounds on the day, tying Orf for the most on the team that night. The third quarter finally ended with the Wildcats leading 29-27.
With the Wildcats only up a bucket, not one person in the Blue Crew considered this game to be a win yet. As a matter of fact, spirits were fairly low for the most part once the second half began. It was with about one minute left where it looked for certain like the Wildcats were going to take this win. The fourth quarter ended with the Wildcats scoring thirteen and the Rams scoring ten. The final on the scoreboard read 42-37 in favor of the Wildcats, and the Blue Crew went absolutely nuts.
When taking a look at the scoring breakdown for the Wildcats, it was a pretty even spread throughout the entire roster. Leading the team was Brennan Orf with thirteen points and trailing behind were Casen Lawrence and Matt George who both had six. Another player coming off the bench hot in the game was sophomore Sam Vestal, scoring five points with a couple of rebounds and leading the team in blocks with two.
Taking a look at the turnovers for both teams, the Wildcats had twenty-one while the Rams had sixteen. Though this category was a crucial area for why the Wildcats could not run away with the win, they held their strength together on rebounding and controlling the glass. The rebounding breakdown was 29-27 in favor of the Rams, which, though the Wildcats had fewer, shows significant improvement from their first matchup. When it came to defensive rebounds though, the Wildcats had 21 while the Rams had 18. Getting those easy defensive boards and boxing out is such a crucial part of controlling the game, and that is exactly what the Wildcats did in this matchup.
This game against the Rams was most definitely the biggest win that the Wildcats have had all season, and it will be even more exciting to see both these teams square off once again at MICDS on February 26th.
The next game for the Wildcats will take place in the Lindbergh tournament where they take on Jackson High School at Lindbergh on Tuesday, followed by a Thursday game against Riverview Gardens at Lindbergh. Thursday is a game where the star senior Brennan Orf is projected to grab his 1,000th career point, so this is definitely a must-see week of basketball for the Blue Crew and the Wildcat community.
The girls basketball team also faced the MICDS Rams this past Friday. They played the earlier matchup of the doubleheader to kick off rivalry night. The Wildcats started off strong to take the lead 13-10 after the first quarter. The Rams changed up their game plan and decided not to full-court press as previously expected. They also decided to play a man-to-man defense instead of their usual two-three zone. Senior Macey Lottmann kept a close eye on defense for senior star player Jessica Brooks who had ten points in the first half. At halftime, Westminster lead the game 27-20.
The third quarter was similar to the first two as the Wildcats still had the lead 37-29. In the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, MICDS was forced to foul in order to gain possession of the ball and catch up to the Wildcats. Through solid free-throw shooting and composure, Westminster was able to maintain the lead and take the victory with a final score of 52-44.
Sophomore point guard Brophy lead the Wildcats in scoring with a career-high of 14 points. Sophomore Carlie Vick also helped the Wildcats with eight rebounds and three blocks throughout the game.
The girls play again on Tuesday, January 14th at Parkway Central at 6:00 pm. The Wildcats previously played Central in the Visitation Christmas Tournament and won by a score of 60-49.