by Ben Schmidt
23 January 2018
The Oswego East sophomore boys play in the fourth quarter of their January 20th game against Minooka. “Overall I think the team did a great job. We had good ball movement and we were able to keep scoring off that,” sophomore Alex Wollschlaeger said. Photo by Ben Schmidt.
Coming off a close 42-41 loss at Oswego, the Oswego East sophomore boys basketball team took on Minooka on Saturday at Oswego High School. Leading up to the game, the team made sure to prepare for the challenge, while also making it enjoyable for the team.
“We practice by looking at some film on the guys first and then we just go through some drills and have fun scrimmaging each other. We try to give each other looks that will prepare us for the game,” sophomore center Alex Wollschlaeger said.
Outside of the preparation the team did in practice, they also had a game plan for Minooka and a few things they wanted to accomplish.
“We just wanted to pressure the ball, and try to cause as many turnovers when we’re pressuring it like that. So that was our main game plan was to just make them have to make a lot of decisions by keeping the pressure on them,” Coach Robert Pfaff said.
The game’s first quarter started with both teams keeping the score even, as halfway through the quarter the game was tied at five, but Minooka went on to grab a 12-10 lead as the first came to a close.
“I thought the energy was good at the beginning, I think we could have valued the ball a little bit better, so we cleaned up our possessions and that’s when I think things started to go our way a little bit better in the third quarter and the rest of the game,” Pfaff said.
When the game moved into the beginning of the second quarter, Minooka was able to able to get a little bit of a bigger lead, as they held a 19-12 lead with four minutes to go in the half. The Wolves then found their groove, as they went on a 14-4 run before Minooka tied it at 26 heading into halftime.
The team knew if they were going to take the lead and win the game in the second half, they would have to make some adjustments on both sides of the ball to improve for the next two quarters. It was the topic of discussion as the team huddled at halftime.
“We talked mostly about our rotations on defense, doing a better job of boxing out, valuing the ball a little more on the offensive side of the glass, and just executing on offense and hitting our free throws,” Pfaff said.
The changes for the second half worked, although they weren’t really able to be seen until the fourth quarter. In the third quarter, the teams went back and forth as no one was really able to take control of the game. Oswego East was able to hold a slight advantage, as they led by three 44-41 heading into the last quarter.
The fourth quarter showed a big difference for the Wolves compared to the first three, as the lead they had going into the quarter, they never gave up. They were able to go up by seven with two minutes left, and despite the fouling by Minooka to put the team at the free throw line, Oswego East stayed in front winning the game 53-47.
The fourth quarter was the best played quarter for the team, as it was the only one where they led the entire time, and it can be attributed to the improvements and adjustments the team made at halftime.
“We pulled away at the end by making sure we took our time with the offense and having good defense and grabbing rebounds,” Wollschlaeger said.
Overall for the game the Wolves made sure they kept Minooka from playing well enough to take a big lead and then playing their style leading them to a win.
“I think we played good because we played as a team and weren’t selfish with the ball. I think we just did good overall,” sophomore guard Amani Cammon said.
After the conclusion of Saturday’s game, it became time to look toward their next matchup and beyond as they still have many more games to go, starting tonight when they take on Downers Grove South.
The game starts at 4:30 p.m. at Downers Grove South.
Ben Schmidt is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the HOWL