Wildcats shock the Bears

Millard West wins their first home game of the season against Bryan


Photo by: Maddy Wallor

West has a difficult season up ahead and coaches and players both notice this opportunity to shine. “We have a very tough schedule this year,” said head coach William Morrison. “Our defense needs to continue to get better. We need to find ways to score more points too.” Coaches aren’t the only ones who see the season ahead as players have a lot of faith for the season. “I feel like we will be able to compete with any team as long as we come to play,” senior Chole Kirschner said. “Once we get our injured players back we should be ready to get some big games.”

Reece Straley, Staff Reporter

On Dec. 6, the Millard West Wildcats Boys varsity basketball team took on the Bryan Bears at home. Millard West came in 0-2 and Bryan came into the game 1-1, many people doubted how the Wildcats would match up against the Bears due to size and injuries. 

The game started off with the opening tipoff going to the Bears. The game started off a little slow with both teams playing very good defense. The Cats were the first ones on the board with a quick layup from senior Payton Moore. Bryan answers back on a mismatch to make the game tied at 2. After some missed threes, Bryan drops one down from just over the free throw line but junior Cooper Fortune drives in to tie the game at 4. After a foul on the Bears junior Max Frohloff makes both free throws but Bryan comes down the court and makes a 3. Both teams draw a foul to tie the game at 10 and senior Chole Kirschner puts a floater to put West up 12-10. That lead is soonly taken over 13-12 by a free throw from Bryan to finish off the first.

Our approach coming into the game was knowing that they are a big and athletic team and we have to be ready to rebound and play good defense to keep us in the game,” Kirschner said. “We were missing some players but as long as we came to play and not allow easy baskets, we would be just fine.”

The second quarter also started a little slow for both teams. After a rebound and shot from Moore West would go up 14-13 to start the second. After a scoreless couple of minutes, junior Jordan Gassen would hit a three to put west up 17-14 with around three minutes left in the second. Bryan uses their size to put one up in the paint but Gassen answers back with his second three of the game. Bryan collects a rebound to put two more on the board. Later, Gassen draws a foul and makes one of his free throws but Bryan hustles down the court to make a buzzer beater to make the score 21-19 Wildcats going into halftime.

“The two main topics that we were trying to correct throughout the game was handling their ball pressure when we were on offense and not trying to block shots on defense,”  head coach Will Morrison said. “We wanted to set up and take charges. Our shooting is not what we expected it to be either.  We need to focus on our fundamentals when shooting and make sure we are taking good shots”

Bryan is the first to answer in the third with a big layup to tie the game at 21. Kirschner makes a quick 2 on a fast break to put West up 23-21. Bryan uses their size once again to get a tough layup to tie the game at 23 and quickly draws a foul. They made their one shot to go up 24-23 about halfway through the third. Kirschner makes a big three for the Cats and Bryan draws a foul quickly after. They make one of their free throws to put the game at 26-25 West. Kirschner continued his streak with another quick floater after a timeout to give the Cats a three point lead. Both teams drew a foul closing out the third. Bryan makes one of theirs and Kirschner makes all three of his to finish out the third with a Wildcat lead of 31-26.

Bryan draws a foul about thirty seconds into the final quarter but is unable to make one fall. Kirschner stays on a hot streak dropping in a wide open three to make the game 34-26. Gassen draws a foul and drops one in but Bryan quickly answers back to make the game 35-29. Bryan uses their size to get a hard fought layup. Both teams draw fouls but West is the only one that could make it fall to put them up 36-31. It was back and forth for the rest of the game but West stayed in control and held a comfortable lead. 

“We played hard throughout the entire game and played great defense,” Gassen said. “ The rest of the season we are going to improve as time goes on. “We are missing 3 seniors due to injury and when they return we will be a scary team to play.”

The final score of the game was 45-35 Millard West. Kirschner was the Cats leading scorer with 18 points. West’s next game is away on Friday, Dec. 9 against the Benson Bunnies.