The Wilcox Chargers basketball squad took on an incredibly tough Los Gatos Wildcats team on Tuesday night. From the opening tip-off, it was clear that it would be an uphill battle for the Chargers, particularly given the fact Wilcox is currently missing multiple key players to injury.
Los Gatos opened up an early 6-0 advantage, looking as if they would run away with this one from the start. The Chargers arguably had their best stretch of play in the middle of the quarter though as they pulled within two points at 8-6, led by guard Dylan Diashyn. The senior was the Chargers’ leading scorer on the night, carrying the offense from the outside, a necessity given the Wildcats’ dominant presence inside in the paint.
“The first half we didn’t attack very well. Even when we attacked well in the second half, we still had problems scoring,” acknowledged Wilcox Head Coach Robert Toloy, whose squad would end up on the losing end of a 53-34 score. “We are a team that is growing; we have a long way to go.”
With a young team, one of the main focuses for this group is to keep up the intensity from start to finish. While the Chargers offense struggled to find any points in the paint against Los Gatos, the effort on defense and on loose balls was definitely apparent the entire night.
“One of the mindsets we were trying to have going into this game was to play all the way through,” noted Diashyn, who led the team with four steals on the night. “Even if we were down, not giving up, always hustling back on defense and all that was important and I think we made good progress on that tonight. Even though we were down we had a lot of guys step up. We did play all the way through. I was happy with the effort even though we lost.”
Two players in particular who stood out with their effort level in the loss were juniors Paulie Majoulet and Juan Ruezga. The former was a rare bright spot on the boards, coming away with some tough rebounds in a game where the opponent was particularly dominant in that area. Majoulet not only grabbed some impressive rebounds, but he dove for a loose ball and wrestled away possession and the Chargers were able to call timeout before a jump ball would have been called.
“Paulie is a dog. He’s always hustling on offense, defense, he always has that mentality of trying to get the ball back if he makes a mistake,” praised Diashyn. “He’s just an overall hustle type of player.”
The hustle compliment can also be attributed to Ruezga, who earned praise from coach Toloy after the game for his ability to draw a charge.
“Did you see Juan Ruezga and his three charges?” responded coach Toloy when asked about which players stood out in a positive way. “Those were probably the most impactful plays in the whole game for us.”
Wilcox will have a week off before they look to bounce back with even more impactful plays at home against Gunn on Jan. 11.