Season comes to an end for Trojans
February 20, 2019
The Whitehall High School boys basketball teams season ended last week with a 50-35 loss to rival Jefferson in the consolation championship of the 5B District Tournament.
Following the game, head coach Zach McLean discussed what his three seniors Cade Briggs, Clay Wolfe, and Clint Parks meant to the program.
"It is a great group and I am proud of every single one of them. They taught me a lot, it just didn't end the way we wanted it to. It was a tough year with a lot of adversity, but those kids stuck with me. They did everything I asked of them," he said.
The Trojans opened the tournament in impressive fashion Thursday with a 44-35 win over Manhattan.
McLean said he told his team after the game it's all about surviving and advancing in the postseason.
"It's doesn't matter this time of year –- you take any win you can get," he said.
It was a defensive battle in the first quarter with the Trojans taking their first lead 5-3 on a deep three from senior Cade Briggs. After a Manhattan basket to tie the game, a Hayden Hoagland jumper was the final points of the quarter for either team and gave Whitehall a 7-5 lead.
Both teams would struggle to score in the second quarter. After a Clay Wolfe basket and subsequent free throw early in the quarter to put the Trojans up 10-7, the Tigers would answer with six straights points to take a 13-10 lead. Whitehall had a chance to cut into the lead and missed four straight free throws before a Hoagland basket cut the lead to one. He would make one of two free throws on the next Whitehall possession to tie the game.
Briggs would have a shot just before the break to give the Trojans the lead, but it fell short sending the game to the half tied at 13.
After falling behind 17-15 early in the third, Whitehall would go on their first major run of the game sparked by Hoagland who had seven points in the quarter and helped push the Trojans up 30-24 going into the fourth.
McLean said Hoagland played with confidence and that was really good to see.
"He stepped up and tried to make plays for us and that's what we need from him, " McLean said.
Whitehall would go up by as many as seven before a Manhattan three cut the lead to four with three minutes to play. Sophomore Dylan Smith would step up with a huge basket off a missed shot to put the Trojans up six. He was fouled on the play and hit the free throw to up the lead to 38-31.
Briggs was key in the fourth from the free throw line and led the team in scoring with 18 points. Hoagland added 13, Wolfe had nine, Smith added on defense. He said they wrote on the board to take the three-pointer away from Manhattan and for the most part they did that.
Whitehall put up a valiant effort falling 59-41 in the semifinals to the fourth-ranked team in the state Three Forks. Briggs had a huge night with 14, Wolfe had 12, and Wagner added nine points.
The Trojans rebounded from the loss strong on Satur- day morning with a 49-36 win over Townsend to set the stage from the consolation championship against the Panthers.
It was a low scoring first half with Whitehall taking a 5-0 early lead. The Panthers would not score the first six minutes but answered with five straight to tie the game. Briggs would break the tie with time running out in the quarter and his jumper gave Whitehall at
7-5 lead going into the second.
Jefferson would start strong in the second quarter and take a 15-11 lead sparked by two three-pointers from Avery Stiles. The Trojans would answer right back and cut the lead to one on a step back three-pointer from Wolfe. Whitehall would take the lead on a basket off a rebound from Smith and take a 16-15 lead into halftime.
The third quarter would belong to Jefferson who outscored Whitehall 19-7 to take a 34-23 lead into the final quarter.
Playing in their last games, Briggs (14) and Wolfe (10) both finished in double figures for the Trojans. Wagner added five, Smith had four, and Hoagland finished with two points.