’Cats got the Blues, Pirates capture team members’ hearts

Alex Jensen, Staff writer

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The Wildcats brawled it out against the top seeded teams in the conference over the weekend. The ’Cats put up a great fight but were unable to top the Whitman Blues, who hold a perfect season and overall record, and the Whitworth Pirates, who are ranked second in the conference.

The ’Cats will have a short stay in McMinnville since they will be traveling back to Walla Walla, Washington to compete in their first playoff game against the Whitman Blues on Thursday.

Senior Jordan Clark says that he feels good that Whitman is their first competitor of the playoffs because then they know what they’re up against.

In their game on Saturday against Whitman, the Blues took the lead in the first half 31-53. By the end of the second half, the Wildcats stood 69-100.

“I’m really excited about it. Playing the number one team in the nation is going to make us have to play great and that’s the best thing you could ask for,” sophomore Austin Hilton said about Whitman being their first competitor.

Junior Liam O’Reilly led the scoring for the Wildcats with six field goals made, one three-pointer and four free throws.

Hilton closely followed with five field goals, one free throw and two offensive rebounds.

On Friday night, the Wildcats competed against the Whitworth Pirates and fell 75-86.

At the end of the first half, the ’Cats were only down five points with a score of 35-40, staying close with the Pirates. Unfortunately, the Wildcats couldn’t catch up.

O’Reilly led the ’Cats’ scoring again with seven field goals, a three-pointer and three free throws. Freshman Dempsey Roggenbuck closely followed with five field goals, one three-pointer and three free throws.

Junior Riley Bruil said that his team’s play over the past weekend was a reality check for him. He said that to beat the best teams in the country, everyone needs to bring their “A” game and that it’ll take the team sticking together and never backing down from a challenge to get there.

“We have to not wait to get punched in the face before we start to play hard,” Bruil said.

Clark said that he is proud of the team and that they are moving the needle of their program in the right direction.

The Wildcats will be heading back up to Walla Walla on Wednesday to prepare for their first playoff game 8 p.m. Thursday against Whitman.

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