Girls hoops capitalizes on rebounds, takes Senior Night, seizes league title

With 4:42 left in the second quarter, Del Norte led girls basketball, 14-8, Friday. This was no ordinary game as the league title was on the line.

Ellie Cavendish (11) stole the ball from the Nighthawks and zipped it down the court to Lilly Crabtree (12) for an easy layup. Westview now had momentum.

Seconds later, Crabtree took the rebound off a Nighthawk’s missed three-pointer and returned the favor to Cavendish by passing the ball to her for another layup.

When Crabtree soon followed with one of her game-high 14 rebounds, it was becoming clear that her rebounding would play a pivotal role in stirring the team’s momentum and ultimately their 45-37 victory over the Nighthawks. They had won the league title, with a 7-1 record.

“Rebounding is a crucial part of the game,” Julia Dahlke (12) said. “We didn’t want to give the other team extra shots.”

Crabtree grabbed the 1,000th rebound of her career in the fourth quarter, a feat that’s never been achieved by any Wolverine, so it had a significant effect.

With this rebound, Crabtree passed the ball to Kelsey Blanchard (12) who in turn passed it to Cavendish for a floater just outside of the paint. The score was now tied, 14-14, with 2:53 left in the game.

At this point, Del Norte began to miss shots and throw careless passes out of bounds. At 2:15, Crabtree jumped out from under the hoop and spun 180-degrees in mid-air to make a layup. Ninety seconds later, she swished a shot inside the paint.

With 20 seconds in the half, the Nighthawks scrambled to get some points on the board. When the clock was racing down to five seconds, their shooting guard jumped up to take a shot just within the three-point line. But just as the ball rolled off her fingertips, it was swatted down by Crabtree. The buzzer rang—the half was over.

In just four minutes, the Wolverines rattled off 10 consecutive points to grab the lead, 18-14.

“Our momentum starts from steals to fast-break layups,” point guard Mac Oribello (12) said. “From there, we were just hyped up and that’s where I started telling my teammates to keep it up.”

The game started out shaky for the Wolverines in the first quarter and the first half of the second.

Careless passes out of bounds and several steals from the Nighthawks hurt them drastically in the first half. Furthermore, Westview only managed to make 53 percent of their shots that half.

“It’s just part of competitive sports, but we picked up a lot of momentum in those last few minutes before the half ended,” Dahlke said.

Indeed, the Wolverines came into the third quarter leading, 18-14, and Oribello said their momentum continued where it left off from in the final four minutes before the half. Crabtree added three more layups to the board and Oribello hit a three-pointer. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Wolverines led, 31-23.

As the clock winded down to 5.8 seconds, Del Norte trailed behind, 45-37, and made a last ditch effort and chucked the ball down the court.

Oribello sprinted across and intercepted it mid-air to seal the win. Westview clinched their league title in a home game that was the last for five players on the team.

“We’ve been trying to get another league title since our freshman year, so it felt like everything came together for us,” Dahlke said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more than playing in front of family and friends with league on the line and playing with lifelong friends.”