Basketball team rides recent success into Pekin tournament


David Proeber from the Pantagraph

Francis Okoro (11) grabs a rebound against U-High in the Intercity Tournament.

Ryan Gibson, Staff Reporter

Over the course of the last week the West basketball team has defeated two ranked 4A opponents, including intercity rival Bloomington, and Moline.

West entered the those games with a 3-2 record after beating Central Catholic and U-High in the Intercity tournament and then a win against Champaign Centennial. Their two losses came in the Intercity tournament to Normal Community and Bloomington.

In the game against Bloomington last Friday, the Wildcats trailed by 4 at halftime and then  responded in the final two quarters to comeback to a victory, and avenged their early season loss to the Raiders. Francis Okoro, a junior, added 14 points in the game.

After the Bloomington game Caleb Jirik (12), who attended the game, said “The atmosphere at the game was amazing. I think that this will be a good year for the team.”

On Saturday’s game against Moline, the ninth ranked team in state, the Wildcats entered halftime with a seven point lead. Although the Wildcats began the second half with a sluggish start they were able to bounce back and come away with a three point victory.

Coach Cupples told the Pantagraph,  “this was a really good weekend for our team.”

Last weekend the wildcats proved that they are one of the best teams in the conference and in the state.

After the two big wins Drew Wollenschlager (10) said this to the Pantagraph,  “There have been a lot of people doubting us so we knew this was a big weekend for us. We just wanted to prove people wrong.”

Wollenschlager added nine points in the game against Bloomington and then a career high 19 points in the game against Moline on Saturday.

On Friday the Wildcats will play at home against Peoria Notre Dame before the holiday break begins.

Over the break,  the Wildcats will look to continue their success in the Pekin Holiday tournament in Pekin. The Wildcats will open up the tournament against Limestone on Wednesday December 27th. Depending on the outcome of the games in the tournament West has the chance of playing another ranked opponent, this time third ranked Lake Zurich.

The basketball team has shown signs of something special and students should go out and support the team during this run.