Wildcats back on track with defensive effort


WAELDER — The previously state-ranked Waelder Wildcats have gone through a “rough patch” recently, according to head coach Jacob Garcia. Tuesday’s 59-37 home win over Nordheim was a step toward getting back on track for the program.

“We had 23 missed layups. Our offense is our struggle right now,” Garcia said of the win. “Our defense is our staple. If we just continue to pound it on the offense, I’ve been practicing with them, but we got to get better on the offensive end to where we get down there and we actually convert on the easy layups that we [attempt].”

The Wildcats started the game with a 14-2 run, with points coming in from Alex Reyna, Jacovan Fields and Isaiah Ewing. Nordheim then cut the lead, ending the quarter on a 9-3 run. The six-point deficit would be the closest Nordheim would get as Waelder’s defense was punishing.

“[We smothered them] to where we forced turnovers and [got] easy buckets,” Garcia explained. The Wildcats used a mixture of a full-court press and zone defense in the half court to frustrate the visiting Pirates.

“I tell them all the time, we just got to hustle, we got to get to every 50-50 ball,” Garcia said. “We try to get everything we can and be aggressive — hustle and be aggressive. You got five fouls to use. Be smart, but also be aggressive.”

The first-year head coach praised his players’ hustle as well as leadership on the court, as he pointed out several Wildcats who did well.

“Carlos [Reyes] was a good leader. Alex Reyna was good on defense, I think he had something like eight steals, had a couple of big three pointers,” Garcia said. “Isaiah Ewing was good in the post and all around. All the guys did great, even the younger guys went in there and did great things like Felipe [Martinez], [Alexander] Mendoza, and Jacovan [Fields], everyone that went in did good things.”

Leading the scoring was Ewing who finished with 21 points. Right behind was Reyna with 13.

The Wildcats take on Yoakum at home, with tipoff set at 5 p.m.