The Wolves faced off against the Plainfield North Tigers on Friday for the second time, beating them 63-46. They previously lost to the Tigers 61-64 in December and were looking to even the series with them.
Senior point guard Grayson Goetz contributed a couple of baskets while also feeding Senior forward Sam Schultz to allow the Wolves to gain an early lead. Goetz said that the emphasis on defensive pressure helped them convert on the offensive side.
“We got locked in defensively and made it extremely hard for them to get anything going, which allowed us to get out in transition and able to feed Sam to build the lead,” Goetz said.
The Wolves continued their scoring run with buckets from senior forward Tremont Brewer and Schultz to widen the gap between the score. Schultz, who has been on a scoring tear as of late as he has recovered from a summer knee injury, knew the importance of the situation on friday.
“Late in the season and with a conference championship on the line, I knew I had to play all four quarters as hard as I can,” Schultz said.
The Wolves ended the quarter with 16 points while holding the Tigers to only three points. It was a dominant showing that would essentially springboard the Wolves throw the game’s next three quarters.
“It motivated us to lay the hammer down on them and take control of the game,” Schultz said.
Going into the game, Head Coach Ryan Velasquez said that he emphasized defense on the team a great deal. After a quarter in which the Wolves allowed only one made field goal and one made free throw, it was clear that the team was listening to their coach.
“I told our guys that we had come out with energy and focus, and that we had to defend,” Velazquez said.
Continuing through the second quarter, the Wolves continued to pressure the Tigers while making shots on the offensive end. The first half ended with the score of 34-10.
Going into the third quarter, the Wolves looked to keep the same pressure on the Tigers as the first half. Velasquez said that he did not want their lead to slow down the intensity of the game.
“You can’t take your foot off the gas,” Velasquez said. “You have to come out with the mentality that it’s still 0-0 we got 16 minutes to play.”
The Wolves maintained the same energy. A Schultz bucket and a dunk by Brewer gave the team momentum to extend the lead by 27 points by the end of the quarter. Brewer said that coming out with consistent offense was important for securing the game.
“We just had to make sure that we focused on offense security, “ Brewer said. “ [We had] to stay focused and stay humble.”
The dunk by Brewer also brought the Oswego East student section to a roar. For an away game, the visitor section was still packed with fans ready to cheer on the Wolves.
“It felt like we were all one big force. We had tons of energy and storming the court felt unreal,” senior Matt Schultz said.
The Tigers managed to score 14 more points in the third quarter but it was not enough to close the gap as the score was 51-24 going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter saw the Tigers look to close the gap scoring more than the Wolves to bring their final score to 46 points. But their efforts were thwarted by the Wolves as Schultz ended the game with 26 points and Goetz ended with 10 points and that led to the 63-46 victory. Schultz said that he was motivated since he did not play in the last game against Plainfield North.
“I didn’t play against them the first time … I had to show them what was up,” Schultz said.
The Wolves’ next game is on Tuesday against West Aurora High School. The game is at home and starts at 6:30 p.m.
Andrew Le is a news writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl