Boys’ varsity basketball defeats Mira Loma in first X-Factor game

Boys’ varsity basketball player Evan Orrick grabs a rebound Jan. 14 against Mira Loma. Photo by SHAI NIELSON

The crowd screams, the fans chant, the coaches yell, and the players run: it’s the first boys’ varsity basketball X-Factor game of the season.

This season kicked off Jan. 14 with a game against Mira Loma, where the Wildcats beat the Matadors 69-55 at 7:30 p.m.

“Everything has led up to what we are doing right now,” coach Matt Rickabaugh said.

There were times where the scores were close, but throughout the game the Wildcats kept the lead; sometimes by up to more than 20 points. Top scorers were Evan Orrick with 13 points and Nolan Eger with 16 points. Also, the game consisted of a total of five three-pointers by the Wildcats.

With this being the first varsity game at home, nerves were high as the game began.

“I was nervous because it was the first game but my first basket helped the nerves settle in,” Eger said.

It wasn’t just the first game for the basketball players, though. The dance team performed for their first time at a basketball game at halftime.

“In (the gym) you can see everyone’s faces and there is more pressure because (the crowd) is right in front of you,” Courtney Hendrickson said.

As halftime passed and the game continued, the score went higher as the crowd got louder with parents and students chanting when the team was on offense and yelling during all of Mira Loma’s free throws.

“In varsity there are more fans and a bigger crowd so it’s a lot more intense,” Eger said.

At the end of the night, the Wildcats came out with a victory that they hope to recreate for the rest of the season.

“We expect to win every night,” Rickabaugh said.

The next game at home is Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. against Antelope where the boys plan to dominate again.

Story by SHAI NIELSON & EMMA RICHIE