Sporting WCA

Wildcats Fall to Lutheran North, Look Ahead to Busy Week

Up 36-30 with three and a half minutes to go, the Wildcats felt like they were in control. They had scored twice in a row, the crowd was involved, and the Lutheran North Crusaders seemed flustered. However, when Junior Brennan Orf came flying in on a transition layup and viciously glassed the offensive player with three minutes and fourteen seconds left, he was called for his fifth foul. This play changed the tide.

Lutheran North then scored consecutive baskets as they climbed back into the game, and soon took a 38-37 lead. Westminster, stunned, needed a spark. When Freshman Casen Lawrence raised up to shoot, he was 0-for-4 on three pointers for the night. He’d shot only 20 percent from three on the season as he had been trying to find his rhythm in Varsity games. It didn’t matter. He splashed it in front of the Blue Crew to give Westminster a 40-38 lead and quickly flipped the momentum back to the Wildcats.

Lutheran North quickly scored, got a stop, and scored again to make the score 42-40 in their favor. This time, it was Casen Lawrence again at the top of the arc from deep beyond the line, nailing a three pointer to take back the lead.

On the ensuing possession, Westminster forced a turnover and Lawrence was fouled with the ball. He missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Lutheran North dribbled to the other end before calling timeout so that they could inbound under the baseline. They crafted an inbound play in the timeout and executed it perfectly scoring an easy layup directly off the inbounds pass that gave them the lead with three seconds left.

Luke Linam was able to get a shot off at the other end, but it fell short. Westminster lost 44-43. Aside from missing Orf, there were a couple things Westminster could’ve done to avoid a bad loss like this. They shot 40 percent from the free throw line, an unacceptable number for any team.

“We need to be patient on offense and work as a team to get a good shot, then stick to our game plan on defense,” said Jerram Adams.

With a big tournament looming in the distance, and two more matchups before Christmas break coming up, there is no time to dwell on one game. However, after losing two games in a row to conference rivals MICDS and now Lutheran North, the league portion of the season has not gotten off to the start anyone hoped for.

On Friday, Westminster plays at John Burroughs. So far, the Bombers are 4-1 and have lost only to CBC by 12 points in their early-season tournament.  The Wildcats face the O’Fallon Christian Eagles, who are 4-3, next Tuesday.

“Our next two opponents are great teams with fast and quick guards, so we need to be able to stay in front of them without fouling,” said Orf.

After these two games comes the Chaminade Christmas Tournament, which will include three games against some of the best teams in the St. Louis area. But, for now, the Wildcats will focus on the task at hand, play one game at a time, and try to finally get a coveted win against a conference rival on Friday at John Burroughs.