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Whitney struggles, falls to Rio, El Camino

Scoring becomes an issue
By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald Sports Editor
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With both clubs coming in with 1-1 records and battling to stay in the Capital Athletic League race with Rio Americano and Antelope, the visiting El Camino boys basketball team emerged with a 49-41 win over the Whitney Wildcats. Defense was the order of the night as both squads dogged one another full court. A lot of shots had to be taken from outside the three-point line because there was very little room under the basket. Because of that only a total of 42 shots were taken in the first half, which ended with Whitney in the lead, 19-15. “Coming into the league everybody’s going to know what you’re doing. Everyone’s scouting it and knowing what’s happening and how to guard it,” Whitney head coach Matthew Rickabaugh said in describing the pace of the game. “Of course you want to hit some three-point shots and we had our opportunities.” Since their titanic defensive battle with Del Oro in the preseason, the 13-7 Wildcats have gone 5-4 and 1-2 in league. They now find themselves in the lower half of the CAL standings with league-leading Antelope due up Jan. 31. Of those five wins, Whitney averaged more than 60 points a game. In their four losses, they averaged 48 points a game; factor in the Del Oro game and the number drops to less than 45. Injuries and other issues have forced the ‘Cats leading scorer, Evan Orrick, to play in the front court. Normally an outside player, the 6-5 senior has had to mix it up under the basket where he tends to get into foul trouble, and isn’t as effective scoring. “The teams are shutting me down from the points I scored in the off season, or the preseason,” said a rather dejected Orrick. Orrick scored five in the contest, and didn’t have a field goal in the second half. “I don’t know; I’ve just got to get back in my flow. I’ve been a guard my whole life. I like to drive and score outside.” Although it was late in the game, Orrick eventually fouled out of the game. Senior Sean Smith carried the scoring load for club with 15. Anthony Davena and Nolan Egers both had six. Little fault could be found with Whitney’s defense either. Ryan Johnson, one of the Eagles’ top scorers, had five points and shot 3-12 from the floor. El Camino broke things open in the fourth period on a 25-12 run aided by some excellent free-throw shooting. “It was obviously a defensive battle; we had 15 at halftime,” said El Camino head coach Tony Phulps. “Whitney did a heck of a job at playing defense and they limited our shots. We took a lot of contested shots today.” The Widcats are scheduled to host 0-3 Cordova tonight. JV _ Whitney sophomore David Parker scored 21 against the visiting Eagles to help the Wildcats take a strongly contested league battle 65-57. However, the ‘Cats let a 40-25 halftime lead slip away in the third quarter “I think being JV they come out at halftime and they’re just flat,” said Whitney JV head coach Matt Holm. “They come out flat and they think that they don’t have to play defense.” El Camino eventually closed the gap to three, but the Wildcats regained control down the stretch. Frosh _ Whitney’s desperation shot from beyond the half line caromed off the backboard and rattled in and out of the basket as El Camino escaped with a 45-43 victory. Rio Americano, Jan. 19 _ The Raiders came into the contest with a 6-11 overall record and surprised the Wildcats by coming away with a 56-51 win and improve to 2-0 in the CAL. Senior Harrison scored 15 in the contest to help Rio Americano pull off a mild upset. The Raiders used a 17-13 run in the third quarter to gain a five-point cushion, and then matched Whitney basket-for-basket the rest of the way. Davena and Eger both scored 13 for the Wildcats, and Orrick and Cope-Fitzpatrick combined for 20 points to account for the bulk of the scoring. EL CAMINO 49, WHITNEY 41 Eagles 5 10 9 25 – 49 Wildcats 8 11 10 12 – 41