Varsity Boys’ Basketball Puts On Defensive Clinic In 51-33 Win vs. Vista Ridge

By Sourav Dhar, Sports Editor

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  • Patrick Sladek '19 jumps to make a layup.

  • Surrounded by opposing defenders, Brandon Parks '20 jumps to make a basket.

  • Brandon Parks '20 runs with the ball around opposing defenders.

  • Marcos Martinez '20 looks for a teammate to make a pass.

  • Patrick Sladek '19 runs to up to shoot the ball while being blocked by opposing defenders.

  • Being blocked by opposing defenders, Brandon Parks '20 jumps in attempt to shoot the ball.

  • Brandon Parks '20 dribbles the ball around an opposing defender.

  • Blocked by an opposing defender, Corey Levinson '19 jumps in attempt of shooting a basket.

  • Patrick Sladek '19 runs up to the basket to shoot.

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The varsity boys’ basketball team took on the Vista Ridge Rangers on Friday, Jan. 18 in hopes of erasing the memory of their loss against Hendrickson earlier in the week.  On Faculty Night, the team rebounded in a big way, making a statement in a dominant win over the visiting Rangers by prevailing 51-33. Brandon Parks ’20 led the Warriors in scoring, putting up 14 points and adding seven rebounds, while also going 10-of-14 from the free throw line. As a team, the Warriors were ferocious on the defensive side of the ball, recording 18 steals and forcing the Rangers into many more turnovers. Patrick Sladek ’19 tallied six steals, while Parks and Luke Durham ’19 added three steals each.

“Defense is the key to winning games,” Parks said, “We wanted to be aggressive on defense and make their offense work; that way [Vista Ridge] didn’t have time to think about the next pass or shot.”

A pair of Corey Levinson ’19 free throws got the Warriors on the board, and Parks followed with two free throws of his own. The team started the game extremely aggressive on defense, forcing six steals in the first eight minutes of the match, with Durham and Sladek combining for four of the six steals the Warriors forced in the quarter. Zach Shrull ’19 drained two three-pointers and led the home side with six points at the conclusion of the opening quarter, and Parks also contributed four points to end the first frame of play. The Warriors finished the first quarter of action with a 14-6 lead.

“Our ball movement was extremely important because we have a lot of spot up shooters. To get them open, it was essential that we drove to the rim and kicked the ball outside [to an open man],” Sladek said. “It ended up working really well in the end, and we were able to get the win largely due to this.”

The second quarter started a bit different from the opening eight minutes, as neither team could get many shots to go in the basket. However, the Warriors began to pick up the pace on offense, with the home team’s lead expanding to double digits thanks to a Levinson three-pointer. The Rangers were able to cut into the lead after that, but a Durham three-pointer beat the halftime buzzer to put the Warriors up by nine, with the score being 26-17. The Warriors finished the first half with ten steals. On offense, Shrull had eight points, Parks had six points, and Levinson had five as both sides were sent to their locker rooms to regroup during halftime.

The Warriors came out hot on offense to start the second half, going on an 11-4 run to push the lead to 16 points, as Vista Ridge was forced to call a timeout when the Warriors led 37-21. After the Rangers called the timeout, the team’s offensive production slowed down, but their defense remained as aggressive as it had been in the first half, limiting the Rangers’ offensive production. The Warriors led Vista Ridge 41-26 at the end of the third quarter.

“We came out with aggressiveness on both sides of the ball, [and that] was a major emphasis we had in practice leading up to this game,” Sladek said.

In contrast to how the game had been progressing so far, the Warriors started the fourth quarter off very slowly; in fact, they did not score their first point of the final quarter of action until about four and a half minutes in. However, the team’s stifling defense made up for the extended cold streak on offense, as the Warriors prevented Vista Ridge from putting up too many shots by forcing more turnovers. A Parks free throw late in the quarter made the score 48-31, increasing the lead to 17 points. When the final buzzer sounded, the Warriors walked away with a resounding 51-33 victory.

“The aggressiveness [on offense] was a big part of the game,” Parks said.  “The whole goal of the game plan was to attack the basket, get in the paint, and draw fouls, so that we could get easy points for ourselves.”

After the impressive victory at home, the Warriors will look to keep their positive momentum going as they take on fierce rivals Round Rock away from home on Tuesday, Jan. 22.