By Judd Liebman
The boys’ basketball team’s shooting struggles continued as it fell to the Loyola Cubs 71-51 on Friday, snapping an 18-game win streak. The usual key players for the Wolverines were kept quiet as the Cubs controlled the key defensively, handing the 21-3 Wolverines their first league loss in ten games.
Forwards Damiene Cain ’11 and Josh Hearlihy ’12 were held to only seven and 12 points respectively, both well under their averages. Big-man Zena Edosomwan ’12 was also overwhelmed by Loyola’s defense, scoring 13 points, five below his season average.
Head Coach Greg Hilliard’s focus for this game was pounding the ball inside, but this plan was thwarted by Loyola’s efforts to clog up the key, he said. In the first half, the Wolverines were 8-12 shooting in the paint and 1-17 from the perimeter. The lack of an outside threat gives opponents the opportunity to focus solely on Harvard-Westlake’s main strength in the paint, Hilliard said.
From tip-off, the Cubs controlled the pace of the game, quickly jumping ahead 19-12 at the end of the first quarter. On offense, Loyola utilized its outside threats to go up 36-21 at the half.
The Wolverines tried to claw their way back into the game, cutting the lead down to ten, but Loyola’s punishing outside shot prevented any late comeback.
“We needed to bring a little more fire to the game,” Hilliard said after the loss. “They wanted the game more than we did. They had more of a sense of urgency.”
“We are a little worried right now because teams are really packing it in and we have to hit an outside shot.”
The Wolverines, still sitting atop the Mission League, will face Crespi on Monday.