The Wildcats held a 10-point 38-28 lead heading in to the final quarter of the game but fell prey to a 10-0 Jesuit run that led to a 45-43 Crusader victory.
Senior forward Rick Maddock, who had yet to make a basket entering the final quarter, led Jesuits comeback with 8 fourth quarter points.
The final 45-43 score is indicative of the strong defense that was played between these two teams.
Both clubs made the paint virtually impossible to attack, often making their opposing players settle for perimeter jump shots.
The guards also had issues handling the ball when trying to slash to the rim, often resulting in turnovers.
“It was a very physical game — they were grabbing and holding us the whole game,” Crusader junior guard Khyan Rayner said. “It’s what you get in Metro league play and it went both ways.”
For most of the game Westview held Jesuits offense in check. The Crusaders had to rely on the depth of their roster to keep the game within reach.
Senior forward Collin Spickerman carried the Crusaders in the first quarter, scoring 7 of 10 points while the rest of his team tried to find their shot.
“Normally I look to our guards for offense, but they weren’t hitting their shots,” Spickerman said about his early offensive output. “So I had some opportunities to go to the basket.”
Jesuit’s offense fell off all together during the second quarter as they only managed to score 3 second-quarter points.
Westview took advantage of their strong defense in the second quarter and spread the ball around, having four different players score in the quarter and took a 12-point 29-17 lead into the halftime break.
Westview’s first half offense was led by senior forward Landen Lucas and senior forward Keon Burns who had a combined 17-points.
Jesuit’s offense began to gain some traction in the third quarter, while their defense slowed down Westview’s offensive attack, holding them to a 9-point outing in the quarter while the Lucas-Burns duo was held to 2-points.
“I felt like we came out of the break with the lead and played on our heels,” Lucas said about the third quarter. “That’s what they wanted us to do. The only way to score against their zone is to attack and we stopped looking to the hoop.”
Rayner fed off the strong Crusader defense and led his team with 5 third-quarter points after only having 3 points the entire first half.
Despite the Crusaders turnaround on both sides of the court they still only managed to outscore Westview by 2-points in the third quarter and faced a daunting 10-point deficit heading into the final quarter of the game.
Maddock set the pace for the comeback, draining a 3-pointer right out of the final break, cutting Westview’s 10-point lead to 7-points.
Maddock followed up his 3-pointer with a steal that led to a basket by junior guard Xavier Coleman who finished the night with 8 points.
The next play, junior forward Max Rich fought against Lucas in the paint for 2 of his 6 points, which ignited the home crowd.
After another defensive stop, Maddock capped off Jesuits run with his second 3-pointer of the quarter and tied the game 38-38.
For the final 5:30 of the game, Westview played not to lose as Jesuit turned up the pressure with traps on the defensive side of the ball.
Jesuit’s traps led to turnovers that helped spark the 10-point, fourth-quarter comeback and the final steal that led to the game winning, Maddock layup at the buzzer.
“The only way to come back against a team like this is to fight, battle back, and trap everywhere,” Rayner said about the win. “We fought hard to get the victory.”
The fourth quarter heroics by Maddock led to the Crusaders 19th win this season and they maintain a perfect (8-0) league record.
The victory has also bumped the Crusaders back into the top spot of the OSAA RPI with only two games left on the schedule.
Westview won’t look to this loss as a setback but as a lesson.
With the playoffs right around the corner, the Wildcats know the recipe to win — they just have yet to put it all together.
“We know that if we put together a complete game we can beat anybody. In these big games we have to come out strong and finish,” Lucas said. “We haven’t done that yet.”
Westview still has two more league games to figure out how to make that happen before the playoffs, which start February 29th.
-Story and Photo by Jesse James, NWPreps