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Del Oro wins battle with Whitney

Lewis carries Eagles to victory
By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald Sports Editor
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It’s been said offense wins games and defense wins championships; if that is the case then Friday night’s boys basketball battle between Del Oro and Whitney high schools (respectively ranked 12th and 17th by the Sacramento Bee) was a championship. With making baskets almost an afterthought, the two went at each other virtually with a vengeance. Each lost key players to injury, Del Oro’s Jordan Broyles, and Whitney’s Matt Gruber both went down. In the first quarter the teams combined to shoot 26 percent from the floor, and at intermission went into the locker room tied 16-16. The Golden Eagles eventually shook off the mounting frustration and took command of the game in the final period and go on to a 44-29 victory. The Wildcats had been averaging nearly 60 points a game, Del Oro more than 68 per contest. “We tried to slow it down and regain our composure,” said the Eagles 6-6 senior post player Nick Lewis, who carried his club to victory with 23 points – 15 in the fourth quarter. “Everyone was sort of riled up. There’s sort of a rivalry going on.” Whitney simply couldn’t get anyone loosened up in the scoring column. Sean Smith and Evan Orrick led the ‘Cats with six points apiece. Orrick came in averaging 16 points a game. The maroon-and-gold was able to hold their own on the boards with senior Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick pulling down 11 rebounds. Alan Kidwell had 11 for the Eagles. The frustration became evident when Orrick and Del Oro’s Kidwell got into a shoving match in the second half. Kidwell fouled out at the 1:13 mark in the fourth quarter; Orrick went to the bench 18 seconds later. “Sometimes when you’re not making shots and you’re getting bumped a lot you get a little frustrated,” said Wildcat’s head coach Matt Rickabaugh. “But if you make shots you don’t get as frustrated, right?” The hopes of Whitney fans did fire up when Lawaun Clark had a clean two-handed flush in the third quarter, and Orrick had a breakaway slam in the last stanza. However, they proved to be the highest percentage shots the ‘Cats took all night. Whitney finished shooting 21 percent from the floor, Del Oro 34 percent, thanks to Lewis. Lewis took over the game when he hit two deuces and one trey in quarter four and forced the Wildcats to foul. Down the stretch he hit 8-11 from the free-throw line. “Too much hype for the game and too much adrenalin going,” said Lewis. “I just had to slow down and re-gather myself because I was a little too excited in the beginning.” That pretty much described everyone but the referees, who let the two teams play it out. Whitney only went to the line nine times for eight of their 29 points. Del Oro’s head coach Geoff Broyles was called for a technical foul. And Smith picked up an intentional foul, which he didn’t argue. “That’s a very good team,” Rickabaugh said of Del Oro. “We just need to play a little bit more calm and strong, stay within our game plan. We just need to make buckets.” The Wildcats will host their own tournament, the Winter Tournament, beginning Dec. 28. Invited are North Valleys, Center, Capital Christian, Hoover, California, Laguna Creek – and Del Oro. Del Oro 44, Whitney 29 Eagles 6 10 10 18 – 44 Wildcats 5 11 4 9 – 29 SCORING Del Oro – R Hime 3, T Butterfield 2, D Becker 3, A Kidwell 4, T Pistochini 7, K Setterlund 2, N Lewis 23. Whitney – Sean Smith 6, E Orrick 6, Soren Smith 3, L Clark 2, M Gruber 2, J Cope-Fitzpatrick 4. REBOUNDING Del Oro – R Hime 3, J Broyles 2, D Becker 7, A Kidwell 11, N Lewis 4, T Butterfield 1, K Setterlund 1. Whitney – Sean Smith 2, E Orrick 5, A Davena 2, J Cope-Fitzpatrick 11, L Clark 1, JR Day 1.