Sporting WCA

Boys Basketball Season Recap: Wildcats’ Season Ends in Devastating Loss to Ladue

The Boys Basketball season came to a conclusion in a 49-48 loss to Ladue. For Westminster’s five Seniors, their careers all came to an end in one of the most controversial, intense, and spirited games in Westminster history.

The Blue Crew showed up. Easily outnumbering the Ladue student section, which is also known as the Blue Crew, the Westminster fans surpassed Ladue in noise as well. Bringing the hype from the beginning, they helped propel the players on the floor to a 26-24 lead at the half.

The game was close throughout the first half, but as the third quarter opened, the Wildcats began to show their dominance. They stretched the lead to nine as the offense was clicking on all cylinders and Ladue was unable to catch up. After three quarters, the score was 42-33.

Then, in the fourth, the floodgates opened and chaos ensued. Ladue went on a small run, getting within in six points. Then, as the Wildcats dribbled through the press with around five minutes left, they were called for over and back after Jerram Adams partially crossed, then went back, and passed it to Luke Linam who brought it across. Even if Adams had crossed the line, the call still wouldn’t make sense or the call was delayed because no call was made until Linam crossed with the ball. The call was also made by the far side referee even though the near side referee had a clear view of everything happening on that side of the floor.

Later in the fourth, Ladue continued to run a press as the sense of urgency increased. They had cut the deficit to just four points as Brennan Orf received a pass on around the corner just before midcourt, and a Ladue forward tried to trap him. The player reached around Orf, grabbing for the ball, and committing a foul. However, no foul was called, and after the player continued to reach and eventually knock Orf to the ground, a jump ball was called. This was an insane momentum swing in favor of Ladue. With the lead down to just four, Ladue would draw the game within one possession with a basket.

Minutes later, Ladue put up a shot that rebounded long and to the left. Ladue’s best player, Jalen Boyd, jumped for the rebound. He came down with it and struggled for possession. He took two or three steps along the baseline and fell down in the corner. He should’ve either been called for traveling on the steps he took or called for traveling when he fell down, but once again, no call was made. Westminster players dove on the floor and locked Boyd up, hoping to draw another jump ball and get possession back. However, as he was on the ground, he urgently signaled for a timeout. There was no way he should’ve been given a timeout, but the ref blew the whistle and gave Ladue their timeout. By now, a sense of rage was filling every Westminster fan in the Ladue High School Gymnasium. The referees were taking over the game.

At this time, Westminster led by just one point; the score was 48-47. With thirty seconds left, Ladue took their time and dribbled down the clock. With about fifteen seconds left, the ran a play for Boyd, who scored in the lane on his own with ten seconds left. Westminster quickly brought the ball to midcourt and called timeout. They would have just over six seconds to win the game.

Head Coach Dale Ribble drew up a play similar to the one that had failed against Whitfield a few weeks earlier at the last second. In that game, the Wildcats had turned the ball over in the inbound pass. Hopefully, this time they would be able to execute it better. Westminster lined up in a stacked formation in front of the inbounder. Blake Jewell ran into the back court. The Wildcats threw it in to Luke Linam who took the ball towards the baseline. As he tried to turn the corner, he slipped and fell to the ground, losing possession. Ladue fell on the ball and nobody could do anything. It was too late. The season was over.

Boys Basketball had another solid season. They finished 17-10, never losing by more than seven points, and losing six games by one possession or less. While this stat feels good, it’s hard not to wonder what could’ve been this year. What if the Wildcats just could’ve finished? What if they would’ve pulled out just two or three more games? What if they would’ve beaten Ladue. This was a good season, but a season of missed opportunities.

In his penultimate high school season, Brennan Orf shined. He averaged 16.8 points per game, pouring in a total of 454 for the season. Next year, he will need just 235 points to eclipse the 1,000 point mark. He also led Westminster in rebounding, averaging almost eight per game.

For the first time since Coach Ribble took over as head coach three years ago, Freshmen played a big role on the team. Casen Lawrence and EJ Williams were both important factors, combining to average 7.9 points per game throughout the season. Lawrence also shot 34 percent from the three point line.

While there were important non-Seniors to the team, the season would’ve been nothing without the five Seniors. Jerram Adams, Luke Linam, Blake Jewell, Isaac Johnston, and Trey Klein carried the team to the season they achieved. Both Adams and Linam shot almost 40 percent from three point range, and Linam shot 90 percent from the free throw line. Jewell was extremely effective on both sides of the ball, and Johnston shot 53 percent on field goals while quietly being a defensive force in the paint.

Next year, Brennan Orf will be the main piece. However, there are a host of Freshmen that will hope to contribute next year.

It was another successful year for Boys Basketball, but once again, they were unable to advance out of their District. Hopefully next year Brennan Orf and the Wildcats can flip the script.