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Antelope closes undefeated league season with win over Whitney

Wildcats fall back in second half
By: Jim Linsdau/Placer Herald Sports Editor
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Seven Whitney High senior boys basketball players had upset on their minds during senior’s night in Rocklin but the Capital Athletic League Champion Antelope Titans had other ideas and prevailed 59-37 Friday night. Whitney kept pace with the Sac-Joaquin Section’s No. 1 team in Division II for the first quarter, and trailed by only six points heading into intermission. But frustration and cold shooting from the floor in the third quarter opened the door for the Titans to go on a 17-8 run and pull away. It was the final league game for both teams. “They just got a little bit more penetration,” Whitney head coach Matthew Rickabaugh said of the adjustment Antelope made in the second half, “and some of the fouls not called in the first half were and that put them on the line. And some of the threes and shots they did not hit in the first half they did in the second half.” Rickabaugh complimented his seniors for the positive energy they brought to the team. With senior bigs Lawaun Clark and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick in the lineup Rickabaugh was able to move out Evan Orrick to a wing position. That freed up the senior to both shoot from outside and drive when the lanes opened up. Orrick tallied 17 points in the contest to lead all scorers. Cope-Fitzpatrick closed out his athletic career at Whitney High with six points and six rebounds in the contest. The 6-5, 145-pound senior plans to graduate in May and head for the University of Southern California to play tight end for the Trojans. Cope-Fitzpatrick gave credit to Antelope’s athletic skills and solid coaching. He said the CAL is probably one of the top leagues in the area, and in spite of Antelope’s undefeated season in league the CAL was pretty well balanced. He also had some parting words for his underclassmen. “Cherish every moment. You don’t get these minutes, seconds, practices and games back. You want to make everyone of them count so when you look back you don’t have any regrets,” Cope-Fitzpatrick said. Antelope did nothing to hurt their No. 1 Sac-Joaquin Section Power Rating in Division II. However, they had to rely on a balanced attack to subdue the ‘Cats, who finished 3-7, and 15-12 overall. The Titans’ Gabe Bealer and Jarvis Watkins both scored 16 points. They and teammate Isaiah Ellis combined for 14 rebounds in the second half. Ellis also had three blocked shots down the stretch. Antelope head coach Robert Richards said Cope-Fitzpatrick’s presence in the middle, and Whitney’s ability to control the game’s tempo, was difficult for the Titans to overcome in the first two quarters. “There’s no way we match up with them inside; the man’s a mountain,” Richards said of Cope-Fitzpatrick. He said his club’s ability to penetrate Whitney’s zone in the second half made the difference. “They seemed a lot more disciplined on defense this time. They were going to make it a more physical slow-it-down game; that’s a game that suits them better. They did a good job of controlling tempo the first half,” Richards continued. “When we came out in the second half and got that run-gun it was more of us hitting the gap and hitting those 10-footers. Once we were able to do that (we got) into our game of really using the cut and slash and using our speed.” Senior Anthony Davena had seven points and seven rebounds; both he and senior Sean Smith hit a three-point shot in the season finale. Antelope will entertain Dixon High School, Wednesday, in Antelope. JV _ The Whitney junior varsity kept pace with Antelope in the earlier game but could not get closer than four points in the late going. The Titans eventually pulled away for a 67-51 victory. ANTELOPE 59, WHITNEY 37 Titans 12 13 17 17 – 59 Wildcats 12 7 8 10 – 37 SCORING STATISTICS A – Sinclair 3-7 0-2 7, King 1-3 6-6 8, Denton 1-2 0-0 2, Hill 0-0 2-4 2, Ellis 2-7 0-0 4, Watkins 7-12 2-5 16, Bealer 5-18 5-7 16, Thornhill 1-4 0-0 2, Quintero 1-1 0-0 2, Team Totals 22-54 15-24 59. W – Smith 1-13 0-2 3, Orrick 6-16, 5-6 17, Davena 3-10 0-0 7, Eger 0-6 2-2 2, Clark 1-4 0-0 2, Cope-Fitzpatrick 3-6 0-1 6, Team Totals 14-61 7-11 37. Rebounds – A 41 (Bealer 13), W 31 (Davena 7). 3-Point Goals – A 4 (Sinclair, Ellis, Watkins, Bealer), W 2 (Smith, Davena). SENIOR NIGHT Basketball – Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, Lawaun Clark, Evan Orrick, Sohrahb Aulakh, Sean Smith, Anthony Davena, David Geissler. Cheerleaders – Rochelle Stone, Liz Allen, Katie Sobeck, Sheilene Canlas, Sheila Perkins.