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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

A different type of jamboree

Millard West hosts Lincoln East and Elkhorn in there annual jamboree game
Senior Jordan Gassen gets ready to shoot his free throws after being fouled. The Wildcats needed all the points they could get after being down in their game against Lincoln East. ‘’Being efficient at the line is important for my game,’’ Gassen said. ‘’The points add up in the end and it’ll be important for us to be able to make these if we want to compete this year.’’

On Saturday, Nov. 25, the boy’s basketball team kicked off their year with exhibition games versus the Elkhorn High Antlers and the Lincoln East Spartans. Instead of a full game, each game was played in the time frame of two quarters/one half. The Wildcats were looking to start their season on the right foot with a pair of wins.

The Wildcats rode with 13 guys on Saturday including six seniors, five juniors, one sophomore, and a lone wolf freshman in Cade Walker. Their first task of the day would be against the Spartans in Lincoln East. The Spartans were the number four seed in last year’s NSAA State Boys Basketball Tournament but would lose to Westside in the first round. They are looking to make their way back to Lincoln with returning starters including Carter Mick and Connor Johnson. Their next assignment would be in the Elkhorn Antlers. The Antlers also made the tournament as a four-seed, but in the Class B side of the bracket. They also lost their first game in the tournament, so they are looking to start their season on the right path.

Starters for the Cats included seniors Max Frohloff, Tag Carmichael, Cooper Fortune, Jordan Gassen, and junior Reece Carson. The Cats were victorious in the tip-off and quickly found themselves in an offensive possession. Carson kicked things off with a three-pointer from the Wing to give them the lead. The Spartans responded with back-to-back buckets in the paint to give them their first lead of the game. The Wildcat’s quick pace of play led them to easy scores making the score 9-6 with two minutes left in the first quarter. Lincoln East took this personally and would fire back with an ‘’and one’’ dunk in transition from senior Jank Dak. As time was winding down, a rebound by Fortune would lead to a last-second layup by Walker to make the score 11-8

‘’Keeping the game close was always the goal,’’ Fortune said. ‘’Going into the second quarter I knew we were going to have to step up and make some shots if we wanted to win.’’

Eight minutes were put back on the clock, and the ball would start in the Spartan’s hand. After a foul by Walker, the Spartans converted one of two free throws to cut the lead down to two. Missed opportunities on Wildcat offensive possessions led to a small run by Lincoln East. They caught the defense sleeping by scoring off of backcuts and offensive rebounds. At the halfway mark, the Spartans found themselves on a hot streak going on a 12-0 run to make the score 11-20. The trend of a Lincoln East run would continue throughout the quarter, making it hard for the Wildcats to claw back into this thing. The final score after the half was 28-17 Lincoln East.

‘’I didn’t pay attention to the scoreboard at the end of the game,’’ Gassen said. ‘’At the end of the day, it was our first game against another team, and we had to forget about it going into our next game versus Elkhorn.’’

After a short intermission, the Cats were back in action but this time against Elkhorn. The Antlers went on to win the tip, and the first possession would belong to them. A quick jump ball awarded the ball to the Wildcats, which ultimately resulted in a Reece Carson floater at the rim. The Antlers returned the favor and converted an ‘’and one’’ on their side of the court to make things 3-2 Elkhorn.  Carson went on to tack on another layup, but Elkhorn Senior Cole Petersen would fire back with a monster dunk. In both their next possessions, each team would trade off three-pointers to even things out. At this point in the quarter, everyone knew it was going to come down to the wire. A shot clock violation by the Antlers gave the Wildcats the spark they needed to finish out the quarter. A Fortune layup led to a short-lived Elkhorn possession, but as time ran down the Wildcats could not get a good look at the basket with the shot clock winding down. Elkhorn converted a last-second layup to make the score 18-13 Elkhorn going into the break.

The final quarter of the jamboree was now underway at Millard West. Elkhorn quickly found themselves at the free throw line. Petersen made both which put them up 20-13. After some back-and-forth action, the Antlers made a floater in the lane, but Carson fired back with a corner three to shake things up at 22-16 Elkhorn. The Cats found themselves heatin’ up, as Carmichael banged a top of the key three-pointer to minimize the Antler’s lead. A failed Elkhorn possession led to a left-handed Fortune layup, which forced Elkhorn to take a timeout. After the timeout, coach Bill Morrison subbed out his starters, and brought out a press to see how Elkhorn would react. The pressure sped things up for the Antlers and would lead to a Jace Ingebretson three pointer to make things square at 24-24. Elkhorn made a pair of free throws on their end to give them the lead. Walker then created contact and made a layup on the next possession. At one minute left in the game, the score was 33-29 Elkhorn, and it was not looking good for Millard West. After a long Wildcat possession, junior Carter LaBorde decided to take matters into his own hands, by converting an ‘’and one,’’. Down one, the Cats had to D-up for one last stand if they wanted a chance to win. The Wildcats did just that and gave themselves one final chance to win it. A drive and kick from LaBorde led to a wide-open three-pointer for junior Jayden Kozney. With time ticking slowly, Kozney would put up the three and make it to give the Cats a one-point lead, which would win it for Millard West.

‘’The second I caught the ball I knew I was going to have to make something happen, and I did just that,’’ Kozney said. ‘’ I was scared the second it left my hands, but in the end it all worked out in my favor.’’

Their first game of the season is against Columbus on Nov. 30.


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About the Contributor
Brady Mar, Staff Reporter
Brady is a senior and this is his first year on staff for the CATalyst staff. He is involved with golf and Special Olympics here at Millard West. He enjoys playing sports, volunteering, and bonding with his friends. He also loves traveling to new places as well as trying new foods. Brady is excited to cover Millard West sports and learn more about the students here at Millard West.

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