As the Wolves left the court Wednesday night, they allowed themselves a few smiles in celebration of their 62-42 rout over Plainfield North before locking back in and remaining serious. The job isn’t finished just yet.
With playoffs just around the corner, the varsity boys’ basketball team certainly have its sights set on a state title. In the meantime, they came out to put on a show Wednesday night for the season finale.
The win boosted the varsity boys’ basketball team to an impressive 30-1 record on the season, including being undefeated in conference play.
Plainfield North began the game hot on Wednesday, and the Wolves quickly found themselves in a two point deficit going into the second quarter of play.
“We started out slow and were down, but when we’re down we don’t panic … we just took it play by play to get back on top,” senior Darren Oregon said.
Even with Plainfield North having the advantage, the Wolves had no intentions of losing their season finale. The second quarter saw a huge surge in energy from the boys that they have been known for throughout the season.
With three minutes to go before halftime, the game became tied at 24 points apiece. Big plays on the defensive end from Darren and junior Mekhi Lowery lead to quick offensive buckets in transition from senior Devon Oregon.
“Getting steals and stops on defense allowed us to have a stop and score mindset towards the end of the half,” Darren said.
Everything began to flow for the Wolves, credited mainly to Devon, who missed the previous two games stemming from a nose injury he suffered against Waubonsie Valley.
“I hated not being able to be out there with my teammates, but getting back out there with [them] to get the victory felt great,” Devon said. “My shot felt good and everything was clicking. It was a good way to end the season.”
By the time the Wolves came back onto the court, they urgently gained a double digit lead to which they grasped onto for the rest of the game.
Junior Mason Blanco took over the second half, scoring early and often from midrange, as well as converting on several layups.
“At the start of this season, I wasn’t playing very much,” Blanco said. “So whenever I was out there, I just tried to gain confidence in myself and did whatever the team needed me to do.”
Head coach Ryan Velasquez also had high praise for Blanco after the win.
“We have always believed in Mason. He is where we thought he would be, a solid defender and a guy who can contribute on the offensive end,” Velasquez said.
This year has certainly been exciting and unforgettable for the varsity team, but they still have their target set on the main goal: winning the state championship.
“Our main focus is playing our style of basketball like we’ve been doing this whole season,” Devon said. “The goal is to win state, and I feel like it is very possible as long as we take it one game at a time.”
The Wolves will play next against Oswego who advanced with their 53-51 win over Joliet Central on Saturday.
Charles Jaegle is the Sports Editor for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl