Senior Ballers Lead Wildcats To Section Win


Miranda Saunders, Staff Writer

The loud, chilling uproar of the fans could be heard across the Latrobe community Friday, February 10, 2017 as the Greater Latrobe Wildcats hosted the Penn Hills Indians. The Wildcats were looking to share the section title with Penn Hills and Fox Chapel if with a win.

At 5 o’clock, students came in one by one, dressed in all white, just to get a spot in the den. The boys didn’t start until 7:30, leaving fans restlessly waiting for two and a half hours in the den.

The girls began an hour later. The stands were full with no room left in the den. By 7:30, the gym was packed and completely sold out.

As the Purge siren began to play, the noise level exploded. The den shot up on their feet, along with underclassmen, junior pro players, and spectators. Everyone was anxiously awaiting the results of Friday’s match up.

As the boys ran through the double doors at the end of the gym, the screaming began.“It was definitely a cool experience running through the doors seeing a sold out gym and all the seats filled definitely brought a nice atmosphere for the game which helped us a lot,” said senior Jake Biss.

After the boys finished warming up and the National Anthem was sung, it was time for tip-off.

As the Marcus Dudzenski met forward Davion Stephens at half court, they took their stance. The Cats won the ball and it quickly began as Fenton passed the ball to Butler who was fouled going up for the shot.

Butler made the first two free throws, putting the cats on the board. But the Indians quickly put up two down at their end.

The cats led the Indians 24-13 at the end of the first. The next quarter the Indians fought their way to try to keep up with the cats. “Our two goals going into the Penn Hills game were rebounding and pressure defense which we lacked in the first half,” said Biss.

At the end of the half the Indians started bounced back but the cats still led 44-38 at the buzzer.

The boys came back out to finish what they started. They they had no plan of leaving the gym without winning the section.

The Indians grew more powerful in the second half. At the end of the third they trailed the Cats only by 4, making it 60-56. “We got a little sloppy with the ball at times in the third quarter,” said senior Austin Butler.

As the last quarter began, and the nerves were on age. Penn Hills tied the game up making it 60-60 until the Indians took their first lead all night. The cats ran down and they soon took the lead, setting the tone for what the rest of the night will look like.

With 41 seconds left in the game, the cats lead by one, 74-73, the Indians had possession of the ball. The fans were on the edge of their seats. The Indians went up for the shot and it was good. The cats were down one with only 16 seconds when Butler got fouled with 9 seconds left.

Butler’s first shot was good. The game was tied.

He returned to the line to make his last shot. It rolled around four times before making it’s way through the net. “A little nerve wracking but I knew that if I made them both, that we were strong enough to win the game. With the second one, God was on my side, for sure. I got lucky on that one but Jake gave me some words of wisdom before I shot the two in and that really helped,” said Butler.

The Indians took a timeout while the cats regained the lead with 9 seconds left. The noise level bursted through the roof. The crowd was on their feet and the den was electrified. “It was definitely a little nerve wracking having so many people watch you play but you just got to block it out and get zoned in, sometimes it’s a little tough with how much noise there are,” said Biss.

The cats defensive team came out and held the Indians as the clock ran out. The cat’s did it for the third straight year in a row. The sea of white flowed onto the floor as the boys hugged one another. “None of us were surprised by the outcome of the game because we expected it, we went into the game knowing that we were going to play to win  and nothing less,” said Butler.

Austin and Jake have been playing together since they were young. “Winning the section together made the win feel even better just because we’ve been playing together since first grade so it was real special doing it together,” said Butler. “Just winning all three together side by side with him all four years definitely made the experience better, just take it one game at a time and hopefully make it farther than we did last year,” said Biss.

Students, parents, and spectators surrounded the net watching as Jake Biss cut the first string, allowing the wildcat fan base to go crazy. As player by player cut down the net it became more surreal. They did it not once, not twice, but now for three straight years in a row.