Mens’ freshman basketball won first league home game


Isaac Ackerman dribbles the ball to the basket and passes it out for a three. Photo by Kenichi Watanabe

The men’s freshman basketball team beat Ponderosa 50-37 at their first home league game on Jan. 13.

In the first half, both teams focused most of their game plan on defense rather than offense by playing a physical, full-court press defense. Although the Wildcats played physical defense, they still allowed Ponderosa to get offensive rebounds and put-back points.

However, the Wildcats were able to take advantage of Ponderosa’s poor transition defense to score several fast-break points. Also, Ponderosa fouls helped them get multiple points off of free throw opportunities. The team went into the second half up 22-18.

In the second half, Ponderosa changed their defensive strategies from a man-to-man defense to a half-court press and three-two zone defense. Whitney was blindsided by Ponderosa’s new defensive approach causing them to turn the ball over numerous times resulting in many Ponderosa points. The third quarter ended Ponderosa up 30-29.

In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats switched their offense into a dribble-drive offense to get around Ponderosa’s defense. They repeatedly dribbled to the basket then passed it out for the three-pointer. This strategy kept them in the game and helped them maintain their lead throughout the rest of the game.

Joshua Mack lead the team in scoring with 12 points in the second half, which helped Whitney get the victory.

“I thought that we came out and played as a team from the start. We stuck together when we went down by one and answered back to win by 13. We played great defense and overall we all played really hard and stuck together,” Mack said.

Point guard Isaac Ackerman believes that the team won due to the energy the players brought onto the court.

“I thought we hustled well, pressured Ponderosa, outplayed them, and everybody on the team brought energy, I hope we can bring this kind of energy and intensity for the rest of the season,” Ackerman said.

Coach Chris Purdy thought his players did everything he asked them to do.

“I thought [our players] did well against their three-two zone and were able to get inside and out for the three,” Purdy said.

Purdy also touched on improvements his team could make for next time they face Ponderosa.

“They had too many turnovers, so we need to value the ball and possession,” Purdy said.

The Cats are currently standing at 8-9 and their next game will take place Jan. 27 at Antelope.