Boys’ basketball defeats rival Loyola

Chronicle Staff

By Judd Liebman

In one of the most anticipated games of the season, the boys’ basketball team extended its undefeated league record to 5-0 with a narrow 81-74 home victory over rival Loyola on Jan. 14.

Big men Damiene Cain ’11 and Zena Edosomwan ’12 combined for 51 points and 31 rebounds to lead the way for the Wolverines, who have beaten the Cubs in three straight games.

Loyola came with fire in the first quarter, opening an early lead with two three-pointers and a long jumper inside the arc. At the end of the first eight minute period, the Wolverines were down 20-17. 12 of those 17 points came from Cain, who finished the game with 25 points and 19 rebounds. 

The Cubs continued to rely on the outside shot in the second quarter as Edosomwan picked up much of the offensive duties for the Wolverines. It was a breakout game for the 6’8” center, who had struggled in league play up to this point. He led all scorers with 26 points and contributed 12 rebounds.  

Forward Josh Hearlihy ’12, averaging a team-leading 15.8 points-per-game before Friday, was held scoreless until he made two free throws with 1:56 left in the first half. After a flurry of turnovers from both teams to end the half, the Wolverines were down 38-35.

Head Coach Greg Hilliard told his team to continue to work the paint and not give up easy points in transition at halftime. Loyola was shooting well, but they were bound to miss, he told his team. 

“We had scored on more possessions,” he said. “And we just needed to keep pounding it inside.”

Harvard-Westlake gained momentum during the third period as Hearlihy and guard Jordan Butler ’11 heated up. Butler and Hearlihy finished the night with 11 points each. After an 8-0 run, the Wolverines were up 52-47, but Loyola nudged back to tie the score at 56 by the end of the period. 

The Wolverines started the final quarter with another 8-0 run and held a 67-59 advantage with three minutes to play. With two minutes left in the game, Harvard-Westlake’s main perimeter defender, Lewis Dix ’11, fouled out.

Despite some struggles handling Loyola’s fullcourt press, the Wolverines managed to pull away during the last four minutes. The game ended 81-74, with Wolverine fans storming the court at the buzzer.

Taper Gym was at its maximum capacity, and there was a multitude of people standing in line to get in to the game.

Fan support did not seem to be affected by the new code of conduct, which was read before the game by Student Athlete Advisory Council members Tiana Woolridge ’11 and Amanda Hall ’11. The fan conduct rules were upheld, for the most part, by the Fanatics.

The Wolverines have eight days off before their next game Jan. 22 at Alemany. Their rematch with Loyola is Feb. 4 at the Cubs’ home gym.