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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Cats basketball held off in frustrating loss

Cats basketball held off in frustrating loss

The Wildcats faced Magruder in their matchup on Tuesday, Jan. 30. Ultimately, the Cats fell 74-70 as they were outdone by this star-studded Magruder team.

From the start, WJ played strong and created an annoying defense that incorporated a high press and traps on opposing players. The Cats managed to garner 5 turnovers in the first 4 minutes of gameplay contributing to a 9-0 start.

Senior guard Tyrese Rucker converted a highlight play during this stretch, in which he snatched the ball at halfcourt from the opposing Magruder player and rushed down to the hoop, drawing a foul for the three-point play.

The Cats dominated the first quarter of play as they concluded it leading 19-5. The game took a turn for the worse for the Cats as Magruder’s offense lit on fire during the second quarter as they sparked back with a 12-0 run containing four straight threes. Their offense was firing on all cylinders, prompting a WJ timeout.

“We lost track of their shooters and weren’t able to get rebounds,” junior guard Jordan Silverstein said.

Needing an energy shift, Rucker delivered, with an astounding three-point bucket from near half-court to regain the lead for the Wildcats. Both teams battled with high energy into the half leaving the matchup close as Magruder held a 35-33 lead.

WJ took a different offensive approach to start the second half caused by Magruder’s new-look defense, as they slowed down the Wildcats’ possessions.

“They switched their defensive look and we could not adjust properly,” Silverstein said.

The Cats slowly lost traction throughout the third quarter as Magruder’s offense was simply too much to contain down the stretch.

“They were able to spread out the court and whenever we were trying to make a comeback they were able to stop the run with a three or another basket,” senior forward Ian Hochman said.

Magruder senior guard Sekou Bangoura troubled the Wildcats all game as he shot extremely efficiently behind the arc, creating what was a nightmare offensive matchup for the Cats. Bagoura also made his presence felt defensively with his twitchy hands which helped him accumulate multiple steals.

With fourth-quarter basketball underway, the Cats felt the pressure down 53-40 to begin the last stretch of play. The Wildcats demonstrated resilience as the offense seemed to pick back up as they put the game in reach, only down six with five minutes left.

Even with the implementation of trap defense once again, the Wildcats fell short of completing the comeback against this highly touted Magruder team.

¨I feel that we need to stay more disciplined especially when we have the lead, I think there were some errors from everyone on the team and staff but we need to be able to capitalize when we start off that hot,¨ senior guard Isaiah Nickelson said.

The Cats will transition their focus towards B-CC in a home matchup on Friday, Feb. 2. This would be a key victory as they take on the final stretch of games of the year, jumping into the matchup with a 7-7 record.

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Mateus Bouquet, Print Sports Editor
Junior Mateus Bouquet is extremely excited to get started in his first year with the Pitch as a Sports Editor. Along with writing for the pitch, Mateus is a huge football fan and his weekly mood is based on how the Commanders played.
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