BROOKSHIRE —The up-and-down bi-district game between the Waelder Wildcats and the Goodrich Hornets ended with a three-point victory for the Wildcats, 50-47.
Down 14 at one point in the second quarter, the Wildcats used a 13-5 third quarter to take a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game, despite how close it got in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we came out a little bit scared in the first half,” Waelder head coach Jacob Garcia said. “I think that we came out lackadaisical and in the second half we knew that we were playing scared and [Goodrich] wanted the ball more than us. There were times whenever the shot would go up, the ball would bounce and nobody was within 10 feet for a rebound, at least three or four times in the first half. Then we started diving for balls in the second half. We just showed that we wanted it more in the second half.”
A pivotal moment for the Wildcats came with 17 seconds left on the clock. Up 48-47, Waelder’s Isaiah Miller was fouled after killing nearly 30 seconds of game clock. Miller missed his free throw in the one-and-one situation, but as the ball bounced out of bounds, Jr Satterwhite dove, ending up in the stands as he saved the possession and Miller was once again funded, this time with five seconds left on the clock.
“It was a pivotal of the game because if they had got that rebound, who knows what would have happen?” Garcia noted. “We’re only up one, they go down and make a layup, we lose. But Jr [Satterwhite], the guy who got that rebound, he’s kind of been our ‘ghost.’ With free throws, sometimes he manages to get the ball and we never know how. We call him ‘The Ghost.’ He played well.”
Miller redeemed himself making both free throws to give Waelder a 50-47 lead, which would ultimately be the final score.
Satterwhite ended the game as the team leader in scoring with 11 points, though right behind him was Miller with 10, Jacovan Fields with 10, Carlos Reyes with eight, all from the first half, Alex Reyna with seven and Justin Schilhab with four.
“I think our spark plug today was Jacovan,” Garcia added. “He was there with the rebounds, he was there on defense. He was everywhere. He played so aggressive that he fouled out, know what I mean? That’s what I want. Hell, if you’re going to play aggressive, at least be smart about it, but be aggressive to where if you foul out you foul out, as long as you’re playing aggressive, you’re trying to get those rebounds, I can’t be mad at you.”
Both Fields and Reyes fouled out late in the fourth quarter. Known for their aggressiveness on defense, Garcia believes that the team will just have to adjust based on what officials call on the court.
The Wildcats first-half struggles started to show a little later in the fourth quarter. Up 10, the Wildcats gave up a 14-5 run, as Waelder could not put away Goodrich.
“I think inexperience kind of killed us at the end,” Garcia explained. “Isaiah is a sophomore, Justin didn’t play last year, he hadn’t been in playoffs for a while, Jacovan just a junior but he didn’t really play a lot last year. Inexperience at the end of the game killed us, but our hustle helped us out.”
The Wildcats take on the McMullen County Cowboys tonight, Thursday, Feb. 21 at Falls City. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
When asked about McMullen County, Garcia admitted he needed to see more game film, but from what he has seen, the Cowboys “like to shoot.”
“Looks like they live by the three and die by the three, but I’ve only seen one game,” he said. “I know they’re a well-coached team, they like to go up and down, so I think it’ll be a fun game.”