The Lightning boys basketball team defeated the Western High School Wildcats on Jan. 10, with a final score of 66-63. Varsity Basketball Coach Jason Looky said the team has made various improvements since the last time they faced the Wildcats.
“We had some guys that weren’t playing the first time we played Western due to some injuries and off the court issues,” Looky said. “[We added] more firepower by adding those guys in the lineup and cohesively we made a large adjustment.”
Senior point guard Tyler Krivitzkin said it was nerve racking to play against an intimidating team that had beat them previously in the season. However, he said once he got in the winning mindset, it became a fun game to play in.
“[Our players] took care of the ball this time against Western,” Krivitzkin said. “[Junior shooting guard Isaiah Quinteros] and I did not play the last time
so we knew we had to come out and make a statement.”
Krivitzkin said the Lightning Lunatics were a large factor in producing the energy and motivation the team needed to step up its game.
“The biggest factor [in winning the game] was definitely the Lunatics,” Krivitzkin said. “Once the Lunatics started cheering on the Lightning, energy filled the gym and got the whole team really energized. This flame under the team gave us the extra power we needed to win.”
Quinteros said he challenged himself to guard a skilled player throughout the entire game, and it proved to be successful.
“[We] had to stop number 12 from scoring clean shots and to move the ball on offense in addition to playing fast,” Quinteros said. “I helped with guarding him and we were efficient in preventing him from getting the ball.”
He said the atmosphere and pressure on the court against Western provided the perfect storm for the Lightning.
“There was not a lot of extra motivation needed other than the fact that it is a rivalry game,” Quinteros said. “If you cannot get up for games like that, than you have no business playing in them.”
Sophomore shooting guard Tristan Goldstein said he practiced differently in anticipation of the rivalry game.
“I worked more on my shooting as well as moving the ball up the court as fast as possible, anticipating that the players on the opponent team would come out as aggressive as possible,” Goldstein said.
He said the team’s win over the Wildcats has been a motivational boost for the players and has made the team more pumped up for future games.
“Now that we have seen the talent out there on the court, the whole team knows we are going to have to bring our ‘A’ game if we want to win any titles this season,” Goldstein said. “I’m hopeful and excited for the games still to come.”
Looky said he is excited for what is next to come and is hopeful for the next couple games.
“We are currently on a seven-game win streak and the [players] are beginning to see what happens when they work as a team,” Looky said. “We will definitely have a bright rest of the future ahead if we continue playing the way we are now.”