Westminster travelled to Denver North’s gym Jan. 16, taking on the Vikings in a hostile, energetic environment. Despite late-half runs in by the home team, Westy fought through adversity and …
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Westminster travelled to Denver North’s gym Jan. 16, taking on the Vikings in a hostile, energetic environment.
Despite late-half runs in by the home team, Westy fought through adversity and escaped with the 68-64 win in overtime.
The defensive tone set by the Wolves through the first three quarters (allowed 36 points) put the road team at a 12-point lead heading to the fourth. That’s when North made their run.
Outscoring Westy 16-6 the first five minutes and 20 seconds of the fourth, the Vikings found themselves down two. The Wolves then responded with a 5-2 run, led by two free-throw makes by senior Kristopher Serna and one from senior Dimitri Gooding to put the lead to five with 51 seconds left. A three-pointer from North’s senior Kendel Anderson cut the lead back to two with 34 seconds left, and then we witnessed madness.
After a missed Westy free-throw with 4.9 seconds left, the ball was loose on the floor as time ticked down. Diving for the loose-ball, a couple of Wolves gathered control as they then threw their hands up for a timeout, to gain possession. As the officials assessed the timeout, the scoreboard showed no timeouts left for the Wolves, resulting in a technical foul. Sending Denver North senior Santan Angel to the free-throw line with 1.1 seconds remaining for the violation, the veteran sank both free-throws to send the game to overtime.
In what could have been a game-definer for the Wolves, they kept their heads high and finished the job that they came to do: win.
The defense that had their struggles in the final quarter resurrected themselves in overtime as they allowed only five points in the frame. Offensively, Gooding came alive with five of the team’s nine points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:31 remaining to push Westy to a lead they never gave up again.
“We kept our composure and started playing some really good defense late,” Westminster coach Kevin Trujillo said. “Instead of trying to reach, we tried to get some deflections, and that’s what we are looking for. Our defensive distance was really good, and it picked us up.”
For a group battling every night, but recently falling short five-straight games, Trujillo harped on the grit and toughness of his team to fight through the frustrating end to the fourth quarter.
“I am extremely proud of them. Being 1-11, it’s easy to quit and throw in the towel for the season, but these kids continue to play hard and tonight was evident of that. When (Denver North) tied it up after calling the timeout when we didn’t have any, I knew we were going to win it in overtime.”
Gooding, who was the group’s Player of the Game, started and only had two points in regulation. His ability to make critical plays in the extra period along with 10 of Westy’s 11 players scoring throughout the night showcased the balance that this team can display when things are working.
“It’s nice when we are balanced like we were tonight,” Trujillo said. “ I feel bad that we had two kids that didn’t get in the ballgame, but it’s hard when you have 13 players to get in.”
Westminster seniors Hugo Briones and Jacob Caraveo led the team with 16 and 11 points respectively. Juniors Devin McCleave and Seneca Brewer recorded nine and six rebounds apiece as junior Jesus Barron and Briones each recorded three assists.
Jan. 18 in their next contest, Westy fell to Northglenn by five. Hoping to get back on track, the Wolves will travel to Thornton Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m.
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