Mapleton d Crow: 40-33
Jan. 11, 2019 — Mapleton boys basketball held off Crow in an aggressive game on Thursday night, getting a much needed home-game win as the Sailors move into a string of away games.
“We really needed a win, especially being at home,” Wolgamott said. “We’ve got a stretch ahead of us where we can really excel, but it won’t be easy. Still, I know we’re a top-three team, and I know we’ll be able to show that next week.”
The Sailors played two home games this week, the first against Mohawk, which saw Mapleton lose in overtime.
“That was a tough one to swallow,” Wolgamott said. “I believe we led most of the game until the end of regulation.”
Wolgamott said that the defense was good enough for a win against Mohawk, but the loss could be pinned on a few factors — most notably, freethrows.
“We end up missing 10 freethrows that game. You make three of those, and it’s a different outcome,” he said. “We’ve been trying to address it with a little extra practice time. Maybe we stress it too much and it gets in their heads. Maybe we need to dial that back and let them come to practice and let it be that.”
And the offense was off on Tuesday as well, leading to some foul trouble in what Wolgomott described as a physical game. In fact, even he got a technical after a small argument with a ref.
“I felt like it was a quick whistle,” Wolgamatt said. “But I have to hold my players accountable, which means I have to hold myself accountable too. We have to keep our composure. It’s not us against the refs, it’s us against the other team.”
The loss against Mohawk, especially at home, can get into the players head.
“Sometimes that can have a hangover effect,” Wolgamott said. “But Thursday I felt like we started off strong. We scored within the first three seconds and bounced back.”
The same physicality carried over into the game with Crow, with the score mirroring that of the Mohawk game. In both instances, Mapleton ended the first half ahead, 19-13. At halftime, Wolgamott preached the importance of defense during the locker room speech.
“We have to keep that going,” he told them. “Don’t let up, and the offense will sort itself out. The first couple minutes out of halftime is big. You know the team will come out punching. If you can withstand that, you’ve got a good chance to win the game.”
And the Sailors did withstand it, scoring 8 points in the third quarter.
The third also started off with a foul on the Sailors and a technical on Crow.
“They had a point guard that was going after Justyce [Wierichs] all game,” Wolgamott said, explaining that after a foul by Weirchs, a player from Crow pushed Weirchs. Both teams made their shots, and it basically ended up in a turnover.
Fouls weren’t uncommon on Thursday, with Weirchs fouling out.
“There’s going to be emotion out there. I want them to be the aggressor but not do anything where it’s going to cost us or look bad on us, the school and the community. We’ve got to be good sports and remember the boundaries.”
And throughout Thursday, the Sailors stayed within those boundaries.
“I was pleased,” Wolgamott said. “There were a few moments when I had to pull a player aside and talk them down. But that shows they care for the game, and they’re passionate. You need passion to be great at any sport.”
The aggressiveness was evident with JJ Neece, who was the top scorer of the night with 15 points.
“When he gets a full head of steam going to the basket there’s not much a defender can do. And he’s smooth and smart about it,” Wolgamott said.
Nate Neece also had a strong game, scoring 13 points and, despite the fouls, Weirichs played still finished with 12 points, along with a host of rebounds from AJ Moso.
“And that’s what we’re going to need to grind out these games,” said Wolgamott.
Mapleton will next travel to McKenzie on Tuesday night, with the game starting at 7 p.m.
The game will be broadcast by KCST 106.9 FM, beginning with the pre-game for the girls’ matchup at 5:15 p.m.