The Wolverines defeated the Loyola Cubs 64-56 at home in the teams’ first matchup this season. The last time the Wolverines defeated the Cubs was before any current players were on the roster, on Jan. 16, 2013.
This was the first time in David Rebibo’s career that he faced the crosstown rival Cubs, as the Wolverine head coach, and he did not disappoint.
From the beginning, Loyola exploited Harvard-Westlake’s biggest weakness, their lack of size. The Wolverines’ tallest player is Ray Mueller ’17, who is listed at six foot five. Three of Loyola’s starters tower over Mueller, most notably Henry Welsh ’16 who is six foot ten.
Throughout the game, the Cubs relied heavily on senior captains Josh Lavergne ’16, Joshua Curls ’16 and Welsh to provide the scoring.
The first quarter was back-and-forth, with the teams trading baskets. L Simpson ’19, who was recently called up from the junior varsity team, was pleasantly surprising for the Wolverines; he had a block and a jumper during the first period, along with several hustle plays throughout the first half to keep Harvard-Westlake close.
However, despite Simpson’s heroics, the Wolverines trailed the Cubs 12-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter continued in the same fashion with the Cubs, beginning to pull away from the undersized Wolverines, leading 29-22 at the half.
During the third quarter, the Cubs led by nine points several times, with baskets coming easily from Welsh, who gave the Wolverines fits all night.
However, towards the end of the third period, Cassius Stanley ’19 and Wolfgang Novogratz ’16 took over. Stanley was dishing the ball to open teammates and Novogratz continued taking the ball right into Loyola’s interior defense and made several layups over Welsh and Lavergne.
Not only did Stanley and Novogratz step up, but senior Henry Vogel ’16 had seven third quarter points, propelling the home team to a 41-36 lead at the end of three.
In the fourth quarter, Ali Iken ’17 started the scoring out with a three pointer, followed by a Vogel layup, to give the Wolverines a 46-39 lead.
However, Loyola would not give up that easily. The intensity on both sides significantly picked up, with players diving all over the court for loose balls and the rebounding battle becoming even more fierce.
The final period was highlighted by a phenomenal alley oop from Novogratz to Stanley to put the finishing touches on the Wolverines’ most important victory of the season thus far.
Stanley had 14 points, Novogratz finished with 17 and Vogel added 10. For Loyola, Welsh scored 21 points and Lavergne chipped in with 13 points.
This win moves the Wolverines to 2-3 in Mission League play and 14-5 overall.
They will play at Chaminade on Wed. at 7 p.m. to try to get to .500 in league.