West has a comeback

Varsity basketball battles Burke at home


Ella McNew

The Wildcats had a rough start at the beginning of the game. Although they struggled early on, they were able to still battle it out for the win. “At the start of the game we definitely could have limited the amount of threes and open looks they got and made,” senior Cole Kirschner said. “We did a good job making free throws but that’s about it. I personally think it was an ugly game for all of us but we still came out on top.”

Garrett Wilcoxen, Staff Reporter

Coming off a blowout loss to Bellevue West, Millard West competed in a home game against Omaha Burke on Tuesday, Jan. 25. They started off slow for the night, but were able to pick up speed as the clock ticked down.

The game began with the Wildcats knocking down a shot and taking the lead right off the bat. Senior Trace Thaden found senior Avery Moore open in the paint and made a quick pass to complete a shot. Following this, the Wildcats made several shots to increase their lead. Several minutes later, Burke was able to hit three from the three point line, tying up the score at nine. Going further into the quarter, the Wildcats struggled with completing shots and failed to play man defense. Millard West let up over 10 points and only scored two for themselves. Rounding out the quarter, the Bulldogs had a great effort at forcing turnovers and staying close on defense, ending the quarter up 24-12.

“Burke was getting wide open shots at the end of our press,” coach William Morrison said.  “We didn’t find their shooters very well and also turned the ball over too much in the first quarter.”

The second quarter started with Millard West stepping up their game and creating shot opportunities across the court. They came out fast and strong, scoring six straight points without letting Burke take a shot. Although they had this momentum starting the quarter, they couldn’t keep it as the Bulldogs played press defense and started making shots again. About halfway through this quarter, Burke was still up six with a score of 31-25. With a quick move by senior Cole Kirschner, the Wildcats were back in it and started playing team ball again. However, Burke was still creating difficult shots to block, and they maintained their lead going into the third quarter.

“I think we were probably a little over-confident going into the game,” Morrison said. “Burke came out to beat us. They played hard and shot it very well. I don’t think our guys ever panicked and I liked the way they responded in the second half.”

The third quarter started and was one of the highest scoring quarters of the game. The Wildcats, led by Kirschner, started to take control and trim Burke’s lead. Right out of halftime, Kirschner made a put back two point shot but following it was a bad pass that led to a turnover. Directly after this, a Bulldog blocked a Millard West three and took the ball down the court to add more points to the board. This must have changed something in the Wildcats’ mindset because their pace and shot completion started to pick up quickly. With one minute left in the quarter, they were able to steal the lead for the first time since the first. Ending out the quarter, Millard West had a lead of 54-50.

“After six threes in the first quarter and a few more in the second, we closed out better on their shooters after halftime,” senior Reese Kolar. “This limited their offense, allowing us to get more points on the other end.”

Burke started with the ball, and after a deep three rimming out, the Wildcats were able to put another bucket up to push their lead even further. Following this, Moore drew a foul to get the Wildcats one more point, but directly after, Burke followed up with five points of their own. This was obtained by two free throws and a deep three. Throughout the rest of the quarter the two teams stayed fairly close in ponts, but after a two by Kirschner and a put back by senior Jessie Cauble, the Wildcats started to increase their lead further. By the end of the game the Wildcats had come back from a 12 point deficit to win 74-64.

“We did a good job playing well together as a team and finding the open man on offense,” Kolar said. “Jessie, Avery, and Trace combined for 23 rebounds which really helped us take advantage of Burke’s misses. All in all, it was a great win, and now our main focus is playing ‘the school down the street’ on Friday.”

The Wildcats will be back in action on Friday, Jan. 28. They will be playing against a rival school, Millard South, who has a record of 7-8, compared to their own 7-6.