As the new season came to fruition Dec. 2 for Westminster basketball, a late surge by Gateway stole the home-opener from the Wolves, 63-60. Despite the defeat, plenty of positives showed themselves …
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As the new season came to fruition Dec. 2 for Westminster basketball, a late surge by Gateway stole the home-opener from the Wolves, 63-60.
Despite the defeat, plenty of positives showed themselves for a program on the up led by second-year coach Kevin Trujillo.
“I feel that our boys had moments where our effort was extremely good and moments where we had physical and mental lapses,” Trujillo said via email after the contest. “Overall, the effort was much better than we have had in the past.”
As both teams exchanged blows throughout the first half, Westminster was led by senior Jesus Barron and junior Gilbert Bujanda’s seven and six points, respectively, as Gateway led 30-28 at the break. Anchoring the offense off the bench, senior Jesse Carrillo also made his presence felt with his quality minutes despite scoring only two pints.
“Jesse Carrillo stepped up big time last night. Carrillo is probably one of the best practice players that I have ever been around,” Trujillo said. “His effort was great, and his leadership on the floor was superb. I am extremely happy with his performance.”
Coming out of the half, Gateway changed their approach with a full-court press that frustrated the Wolves’ backcourt. Speeding up the home team, the Olympians forced turnovers that allowed the athletic group to get out and run. And after six straight points from senior DJ Wilson, Westy buckled down.
Taking a 44-40 lead going to the fourth, a solid third from Barron (six points) and senior Seneca Brewer (five points) put Westminster in contention going to the final frame.
Extending their lead to 53-48 with 3:19 remaining, a quick 7-2 run by the Olympians over the next minute notched things at 55. As turnovers pilled up the final five minutes of the affair for Westy, Gateway took advantage and stole one from the Wolves.
“Last night, we had some costly turnovers in very critical times of the game. We had a total of 15 turnovers, which is a huge improvement from last year. Lessons to be learned, we are going to turn the ball over, but instead of holding our heads down about it, we must learn to get back in defensive transition and not allow easy baskets like we did last night. That comes from good mental toughness and taking pride in trying to correct your mistake by hustling and playing good defense,” Trujillo said.
Shooting 32.4 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from the free-throw line, the Wolves fought despite the shots not falling most of the night. A significant positive, however, was the shooting of 52.9 percent from three-point land — a clip that wasn’t close to a season ago.
On the night, Brewer led the squad with 18 points, followed by 15 from Barron. Senior newcomer Gadge Ware also tallied double-figures with 11.
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