Wildcats Have Room for Improvement Through First Couple Games of the Season

JD Wessel


Coach Morrison and his team received a tough Metro tournament bracket starting with a rematch against the Papillion Monarchs, the tournament will start December 30th. photo by Annaliese Punt

The Millard West Boys and basketball coach Bill Morrison have stumbled to a 3-3 start on the season. But, with wins against Fremont, Omaha South, and Papillion in these first six games of the season, the Wildcats have proved they are here to compete.

In the first game with Pius, the Wildcats struggled on both ends of the ball with multiple turnovers and inconsistent shooting on the offensive side of the ball, and on the defensive side the Wildcats struggled to rebound because of the constant size mismatches, losing 56-67.

Although the Wildcats struggled in the first game of the season, they found their identity the next couple games, beating Fremont with ease, 65-49, and also upsetting Omaha South a week later 50-47. In both of these games Millard West heated up shooting due to the contributions from all five starters and the bench, all of the shots were a “shared wealth” in a way.

The very next game, Millard West traveled to Lincoln Southwest in what was a big test for the Wildcats moving forward and a game that was highly anticipated to be a dog fight in the paint. The Silver Hawks won, out rebounding the Wildcats by only four rebounds, which might have been a surprise for some considering the Silver Hawks had seven guys that were 6’2” or taller, including the 6’3” senior Jakob Ahlschwede who helped his team with seven rebounds and 10 blocks on the game.

“We know what we need to work on after the first couple games and we don’t let losses this early in the season weight us down.” Senior Chris Connell said.

After the Wildcat’s loss to the Silver Hawks they had a chance to take down the Westside Warriors at Westside. What the Warriors have shown this season through the first five games; they have a lot of shooters on the floor at all times. The Warriors standout player is sophomore Jadin Boothe who is averaging 23 points per game, they also have exceptional depth and a top-level post game that includes 6’6” Junior Chase Thompson who plays as a center. The Wildcats were leading the for the first half of the game and some of the third quarter, but they struggled to control the game down the stretch allowing six 3 point shots in the second half. Jadin Boothe took over the second half of the game to push the Warriors past the Wildcats 56-53.

“We’re still in the process of working on mistakes and better team chemistry on the court so we’ve all been working hard in practice.” Hunter Schnuerle said.

Starting point guard Giavonni Guido is putting up impressive numbers, averaging 10 points, 4 assists, and 4 steals a game for the Wildcats. photo by Annaliese Punt

While the Wildcats have a 3-3 record overall, they are 3-0 at home. They have been fueled by their home crowd to help them win the first couple games of the year. Millard West’s last victim in “The Jungle” was the Papillion-LaVista Monarchs. The Wildcats lead the whole game and didn’t look back. Center Brock Burling racked up 18 points and 6 rebounds to help his team take down the Monarchs, 59-49.

“The student section has been a good help for us this season, it’s always nice to have fans behind us supporting us during games,” Burling said.

A common theme that has been seen this season for the Wildcats is that they don’t have one pure scorer, a head honcho for taking shots. What we’ve seen this season is if you have a good look at a shot, take it. The Wildcats don’t worry about who the next guy is to take the shot as long as it’s a good look. On the defensive end, we’ve seen the Wildcats constantly crashing the boards and playing solid defense. They don’t give up a lot of points as a team, holding teams to an average 54 points.

The Wildcats still have things to work on, but as a team they have a lot of potential that we could see come into full swing by the end of the season. The next game for the Wildcats is against their rivals, the Millard North Mustangs who have started with a 1-6 record so far. Aside from the record, Millard North is a good team that has a lot of shooters on the floor at all times and can hurt you on the free throw line if you let them get to it enough. The game is at Millard North on Friday, December 22nd where the Wildcats have an opportunity to knock off the Mustangs at home.