Oswego East boys varsity basketball brought home the win Friday night against the Joliet West Tigers winning 72-59.
Both teams stood undefeated in conference play going into the game. With that being said, the Wolves understood they would be seen as underdogs as the Chicago Sun Times had ranked Joliet West the fifth best team in the state.
The Tigers were led by the backcourt duo of senior five star point guard Jeremy Fears and his brother Jeremiah, but Coach Ryan Velasquez had a plan in mind when it came to attacking their system.
“We gotta share the ball and do what we do,” Velasquez said. “We also need to be big with the ball, be strong with the ball and execute at a high level while keeping our composure.”
Wolves put the first four points of the game on the board with two easy scores, but Joliet West was able to cut the lead down to two after a quick stop and layup of their own.
Each team found success scoring the ball in the first as the score was 14-13 Wolves six minutes into the quarter. With two minutes left in the first, senior big Tyler Jasek converted on and one opportunity putting Wolves up three and as time winded down, junior forward Andrew Wiggins hit a buzzer beater three to put the Wolves up 19-13 going into the second.
Oswego East picked right back up where they started in the first with a triple from Jehvion Starwood.
Though the Tigers were able to block a few shots around the rim, the Wolves held the Tigers to 13 second quarter points as they led 37-26 going into half time.
Senior guard Micah Gatewood and his team had a plan for how they would close out this game.
“Being able to keep our composure as well as moving the ball around is what we need to work to get the team the win.”
The third quarter was more of the same from the Wolves as they closed it out 47-38.
In the last quarter of play, Oswego East opened the quarter with a couple baskets to give them a 12 point lead.
Joliet West then hit two back-to-back three pointers to put the game within eight.
After both teams traded scores, Bryce Shoto was fouled bringing the ball up the court which left him with a black eye. As the Wolves were at the line, Shoto motioned to be subbed out of the game. Shoto denied the substitution and then hit a deep three pointer to give the Wolves a twelve point lead.
Shoto’s go ahead three was followed by a loud outburst by the away crowd that lasted the rest of the game.
“I couldn’t let my team down,” Shoto said. “I was just living in the moment.”
The rest of the fourth quarter consisted of intentional Tiger fouls that put the Wolves at the freethrow line, giving them the opportunity to win this game.
In the end, Oswego East pulled off the win against Joliet West winning 72-59.
The Wolves play an away game against Plainfield South this Friday Jan. 20.
Michael Wannah is a staff writer for Oswego East’s online news magazine The Howl