The Whiteoak Wildcats snapped a four game skid on Saturday when they hosted the Bethel-Tate Tigers in a narrow 46-43 victory to improve their record to 2-6 overall on the season. The Wildcats were able to secure the victory late in the fourth quarter after trailing the Tigers by as much as five points in the final period.
The game winning sequence for Whiteoak started with Traeton Hamilton on the defensive side of the ball. With 1:39 to play and the game tied at 43 Hamilton dove into the passing lane, sprawling onto the floor, to steal the ball from the Tigers.
On the ensuing possession Brayden Yeager, in his first varsity game, got the ball on the low block and made a beautiful move into the lane for the go ahead basket.
Bethel-Tate had a chance to tie it at the free throw line when S. Reinhart was fouled with 49.8 seconds to play. Reinhart missed both attempts and Trever Yeager made a diving save to secure possession for the Wildcats.
After and empty possession on the offensive end the Wildcats were able to come up with another huge steal with 9.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Zach Rand knocked the ball out of the hands of G. Reinhart and then dove on the floor to secure the ball as Wildcats head coach Blake Kibler called timeout.
B. Yeager got the ball again for the Wildcats on the wing and was fouled with under seven seconds to play. Brayden’s first attempt on the one and one was good to push the Whiteoak lead to three at 46-43 but, he missed the second attempt giving the Tigers a chance. On the final play of the game Bethel-Tate got a good look at a tying three that clanked off the rim and was secured by Brayden as the final buzzer sounded.
Kibler felt that his team showed great maturity in the tough win. “Last year there is no way that team could have done that. They would have been down in the third and then got blown out. We are getting the winning mentality. It is changing the mentality, not just for the basketball team but, for the entire school,” Kibler said.
In the first quarter the Tigers came out strong on both ends of the floor as they took a six point lead scoring 16 points in the quarter while limiting the Wildcats to 10.
The Wildcats flipped the script in the second quarter as they clawed back to take a 25-22 lead into the break. Whiteoak clamped down on the defensive side of the ball in the second frame as they limited the Tigers to only six points in the period while scoring 15 of their own.
Both teams struggled coming out of the half as the Wildcats only mustered four points in the third quarter and allowed Bethel-Tate to reclaim the lead at 31-29 as they put up nine points in the quarter.
Kibler was very pleased with the performance that he got from Brayden Yeager in his first varsity contest. “Brayden has been playing JV. He just wasn’t ready right off the bat, we wanted to get him some experience and give him some confidence boosters. We lost a winnable game to Westfall last Friday and we needed a fresh start, and we were running some different plays. I knew that Brayden would eventually come play full varsity but, we just decided that it was time to pull the plug on him and let him go. He did a wonderful job,” said Kibler.
The Wildcats will be back in action on January 5 when they travel to Manchester to take on the Greyhounds in Southern Hills Athletic Conference basketball action.
Whiteoak: T. Yeager 3(1)-3/7-12; Hamilton 4-0/1-8; Crowe (1)-3; Ross 4-8; Rand 3-0/1-6; B. Yeager 4-1/2-9
Bethel-Tate: Becker 2(2)-1/3-11; G. Reinhart 2(1)-2/2-9; Manz 1-1/2-3; Collins 2(1)-4/8-11; S. Reinhart 2(1)-2/7-9
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.