The Wildcats outplay the Storm

The Millard West Varsity Boys Basketball team has success in a heated game


Photo taken by Yearbook

The team always tries to be prepared for what will come next. They do this by resting after games and gaining their stamina back for the upcoming ones. “Although we won this game we always need to be energized and look ahead at farther games,” Conway said. “We will do this by watching film and letting ourselves recover, along with getting well rested.”

Garrett Wilcoxen, Staff Reporter

On Thursday, January 8, the Millard West Boys Varsity Basketball team competed against the Elkhorn South Storm. The game determined if the Wildcats would continue the season with a 7-2 or 6-3 record.

Going into the game, the Wildcats had a record of 6-2, and the Storm had a record of 3-5. Although the game was in Millard West’s favor, Elkhorn South pressured the Wildcats and put up many points.

The game started quickly with Elkhorn South winning the tip and driving it down the court. After a few missed shots from each team, the Wildcats’ power forward senior James Conway put up two points and got three with an AND1( point after shot) opportunity. 

About halfway through the first quarter, the score was 13-3 Wildcats lead. Conway, off to a great start, had seven of those points. Elkhorn South was off to a slow start due to several fouls, but picked up their pace nearing the end of the quarter. The Storm’s offensive takes improved and they accumulated 7 more points before the end of the half. Although they stepped it up on offense, their defense was still letting up Wildcat baskets, ending the quarter with a 19-10 Millard West lead.

“I think our team performed well throughout the first quarter although we could have improved in some areas like 3-pointers and free throws,” Conway said. “Our teamwork has improved a lot throughout the season, and we have gained more chemistry. If we continue to do this, we will be able to move the ball better near the end of the season.”

Early in the second quarter, the Storm came out strong with three 3-pointers making the score 23-19 Wildcats lead. After this strong start by Elkhorn South,  Millard West started to make better passes, and the overall team had better footwork. The second quarter was slow paced, and the Wildcats came out on top with a score of 29-21 heading into halftime.

“Our team’s defensive effort in the second quarter was very good, and we worked well as a team getting the right rotations and closeouts knowing that the other team was full of solid shooters,” small forward senior Dustin Hatch said. “We struggled being able to spread the floor and hit 3-pointers with Ryan Larsen being quarantined and had a couple sloppy turnovers we could have prevented.”

The third quarter was fast paced for the Wildcats in which they had many scores early on. Millard West scored ten points before the quarter was even halfway through. They dropped off after this, only scoring four more points in the quarter and letting Elkhorn South make some buckets. The fourth would begin with a 13-point Wildcat lead.

“This year our team has become very close, and we are a group of best friends who simply enjoy basketball,” Hatch said. “Having said that, we are good at being unselfish and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of our teammates. I believe we showed that throughout the last half of the game by holding each other accountable and working together.”

Millard West came out slow in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter only scoring six points. Although they weren’t constantly hitting shots, they were playing outstanding defense and only let up two points. With four minutes left in the quarter, the Wildcats and the Storm started to both hit most of the shots being taken, and each team scored at least seven more points before the game ended.

“Our defense was great throughout the whole game aside from letting up a few easy buckets,” coach William Morrison said. “On offense we were patient, took smart shots and attacked the board with momentum. We are still finding our players roles throughout the season and learning to adjust in new situations. I think our strength is that we are very versatile, and if someone is having an off night or in foul trouble, we can adapt.”

The game ended with a final score of 56-38, Wildcats coming out on top. Both teams performed exceptionally well and played a tough game. Millard West will be back on the court Friday, January 15, facing Papillion-La Vista South.