There were three messages being sent in the Wrightstown Tigers’ 58-34 victory over the Mishicot Indians Tuesday night in Olympian Conference play.
Message #1: The Tiger defense can harass you in to having one seriously bad night.
The five point lead that the Tigers held at the end of the first quarter was the closest Mishicot was able to get all night, and the Wrightstown defense was a main reason. Bringing intense pressure and hounding the Indians’ ball handlers, the Tigers force Mishicot into over 20 turnovers and a 13 for 45 shooting night, allowing only one Indian player to score more than six points. Senior Colten Haack had 14 of the Indians’ 34 points.
“They’re very solid. They come on the defensive end with a lot of pressure. I was hoping that our guys would be able to handle it, especially coming off a game against Roncalli who also brings a lot of pressure,” said Mishicot head coach Justin Bestor “We handled it Thursday night, and I thought we could handle it tonight, but that just wasn’t the case. Tonight all the credit in the world goes to Wrightstown. They got after us and we just didn’t handle it well.”
For the Tigers, Head Coach Cory Haese was happy with his charges’ defense.
“I thought that everyone that played tonight really got their arms active,” Haese said. “We got our hands on a lot of balls when we were on D, and if we can get some deflections and get in the open court, we have some speed and kids that can finish. I thought our defensive intensity was huge tonight.”
Message #2: The Tigers don’t drop off in play when their bench is on to floor.
With four points from Michael Falck and the same kind of defensive pressure expected from the starters, the Wrightstown bench showed off the depth of the Tigers (4-1 overall, 3-1 Olympian Conference). With just under five minutes left in the third quarter, Tiger head coach Cory Haese made a wholesale change in his lineup, and the bench players proceeded to not only keep the double digit lead but extended it before the starters returned for the 4th quarter.
“Our bench is deep,” Haese said. “Kids all the way up and down our bench want to play and contribute.”
The Tigers also understand that greatness in a game all starts with how you practice.
“Every day in practice, we are always battling with each other. We are always competing,” said senior reserve guard Cody Lukes. “We don’t have much of a let off. Everyone is good on the team. When the back ups are in, they are going to be playing as hard as the starters would be.”
Lukes chipped in 2 points and a rebound off the bench for the Tigers.
Message #3: It is not wise to leave Jon Braeger open and if Olympian Conference opponents chose to do so, they do so at their own peril.
The 5’11 senior guard was an astonishing 8-9 from the field, including a perfect 3 for 3 from beyond the three point line to tally a game-high 19 points. Braeger’s play had the Mishicot coach seeing the senior in different colors.
“He is very athletic, very crafty, a very good basketball player and someone I would love to have on my team,” Bestor said. “Our scouting report says he does a lot of things very well. He can shoot, he can drive. That was one of our star players; guys we have to stop. He did what he does and had a very good night.”
The Tigers welcome Chilton High School to the Tigers Den on Friday. Game time is 7:30pm.