Whitney effort never in doubt even when game was

Rocklin at Whitney Friday
By: Joshua Gutierrez/Placer Herald Correspondent
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On the final day of the Rocklin Holiday Tournament, the Whitney High boys basketball team lost to Inderkum by a score of 73-61.

Whitney started the game on the wrong side of a 0-9 run, but fought back to get within one point. But a flurry of Tigers’ scoring led to a 17-2 run heading into the locker room.

By halftime, each team had attempted the same number of shots from the floor. The Tigers shot 50 percent, while Whitney went 8-for-28.

The game became a verbally heated affair as both teams returned to the court. Three technical fouls were issued, with two assessed on Inderkum’s coaching staff.

The technical fouls, all of which were converted by Nolan Eger, allowed Whitney to gain momentum and cut Inderkum’s lead to 10 points.

“We just shot ourselves in the foot,” Whitney head coach Matt Rickabaugh said after the loss, “We had a chance to get this game within single digits.”

Inderkum pulled away on the heels of a 15-for-19 performance at the free-throw line. Even when it appeared the Tigers had the game in hand,  Whitney refused to give in. The Wildcats continued to send Inderkum to the foul line to stop the clock to try and get back on offense.

Rickabaugh said the never-say- die attitude is somethng the coaching staff takes pride in. He said it was a positive learning lesson for his youthful team.

“We’re growing as a young team. We’re learning,” said Rickabaugh. “We just can’t keep learning through losses.”

The Wildcats have been hindered by the loss of Matt Gruber, who suffered an ankle injury in the first game of the tournament. Gruber is expected to return in two to four weeks.

Starter Diego Rosales also missed the game because of a hand injury.

In their absence, Eger used intensity and determination to help keep the Wildcats in the game. The senior scored in every period and led the ‘Cats with 24 points.

“We fight until the end,” said Eger. “We’re a never-back-down type of team.”

Eger’s intensity also led to two technical fouls, which would have put him on the bench for Whitney’s next game. But the referees confirmed that the second instance was an indirect foul and exempted Eger from the additional penalty.

Oakmont 59, Whitney 54

Just when it seemed the Vikings were going to run away with the game, the ‘Cats roared back to give the Roseville club a scare Dec. 14.

With Gruber injured, Oakmont dominated the boards and took an early 19-5 lead. Eger took things on his shoulders to score 19 and go 11-11 from the foul line.

The Vikes’ center Isaac Thornton scored 26 to help hold off the maroon-and-gold’s rally.

Weston Ranch 70, Whitney 61

Opening against perhaps the tallest team in the tournament, the Wildcats fell by nine.

Gruber went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter allowing Weston Ranch’s center Davieon Laveret to dominate the boards.

Still, Eger (15 points), Ryan Gee (9) and Joshua Jackson (7) helped keep the ‘Cats in the game with drives and solid shooting from the perimeter.

Inderkum 73,  Whitney 61

Wildcats         9          10        19        23 – 61

Tigers 16        19        16        22 – 73



Whitney – Nolan Eger 8-15, 7-7, 24. 3Pts. 1-3. Ast. 2, Ryan Gee-5-8, 0-0, 13, 3 Pts. 3-6, Ast. 2, Joshua Jackson-4-11, 0-0, 9. 3 Pts. 1-2.



Whitney – 22-60, 8-10, 61. 3Pts 7-18. Turnovers 13.

Inderkum – 22-46, 25-31, 73. 3Pts. 4-15. Turnovers 20.