The Wolverines defeated the Heritage Christian Warriors 76-59 in Head Basketball Coach David Rebibo’s first home game of his tenure.
The game started off nicely for the Wolverines, with Ali Iken ’17 and Cassius Stanley ’19 hitting back-to-back three pointers to give the home team an early 6-2 lead.
Both squads traded baskets throughout the first period, including a Stanley putback dunk, which sent the packed Fanatics section crazy. At the end of the first quarter, the scored was all knotted up at 17.
“I was just trying to give the Fanatics something to cheer for,” Stanley said. “As a team, we just tried to come out here against a talented team and win the right way.”
However during the second quarter, the talent of the Wolverines showed, with Stanley and Wolfgang Novogratz ’16 leading the way, putting Harvard-Westlake up 47-25 at the half. The Wolverines went on a 24-5 run, including a couple of Iken three pointers and three Stanley dunks.
“My teammates were amazing tonight,” Iken said. “They found me when I was open and I got into a rhythm with the ball in my hands.”
The Wolverine performance in the third quarter was led by Iken who scored 11 points in the third quarter, including three more threes. Stanley displayed his court vision with a laser pass from beyond the three-point line to a wide open Ray Mueller ’17 for an easy layup. Harvard-Westlake ended the quarter with a 64-44 lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Wolverines were a bit stagnant, with all of the bench players getting minutes in this non-league matchup. The Warriors cut the lead all the way down to 17, but after a Nevin Sanitsky ’17 three pointer and a Novogratz floater, Heritage Christian was simply unable to overcome the Wolverines’ firepower.
Ultimately, the Wolverines ended up pulling out the victory due to Warriors’ star Juhwan Harris-Dyson’s ’17 foul trouble. Stanley finished with 19 points, Iken ended with 22 points and Novogratz added 14 points.
“Tonight was a huge step up in terms of how we have played as a team, and I think that we will just keep on getting better as the season goes on,” Iken said.
The Wolverines moved to 4-1 overall and will continue their season on Monday against El Segundo in the first game of the El Segundo Tournament.
“We came out and played better than expected,” David Seo ’16 said. “We just focused on playing our game, instead of trying to beat the other team, and at the end we came out with the win.”