By DOUG DONNELLY
OTTAWA LAKE – Luke Rasor and Josh Hill are two of the few Whiteford Bobcat varsity basketball players who don’t play football.
That gave them all fall to get ready for the basketball season.
When the lid lifted on the Whiteford season Thursday, the two led the Bobcats in scoring and helped put the clamps on a Madison team that brought a 2-1 record into Ottawa Lake.
“This is a special group,” Whiteford coach Nick Abalos said. “We have some really great leaders on the team. They pick each other up.”
“We’ve been looking forward to this game for a while and It was nice to finally play it.”
The Bobcats pushed back the start of its season due to the football team reaching the Division 8 semifinals. Abalos has used a couple intersquad scrimmages and various techniques in practice to keep the kids motivated and anxious to start the season.
“We started great. I credit the kids for that. We wanted to be sure we were in shape and I think we were,” Abalos said.
Both teams struggled to score early. The Bobcats allowed just three first quarter field goals but had just seven points themselves. In the second quarter, however, Rasor scored eight points to put the Bobcat offense in gear.
Things picked up in the third quarter, but it was the fourth where the Bobcats stretched out, the lead. Madison cut it to seven at one point, but a turnover, 3-pointer by Hill extended the lead to 41-23 and the Bobcats were in command.
Whiteford’s defense remained stingy in the fourth quarter, giving up just two field goals.
“We had our shots,” Madison coach Erik Thompson said. “We had every shot that we wanted, they just didn’t go in. Defensively we are fine. We are play hard. We had good looks but missed too many layups and what we call ‘A’ shots, which are high percentage shots.”
Abalos said the Whiteford defense was the difference.
“We are emphasizing defense like never before,” Abalos said. “Our goal was to work hard on defense and break them down. We forced a good number of turnovers and turned it into transition points.”
Hill and Rasor were the only players in double figures. Cole Giesige, last year’s top Whiteford scorer, finished with seven points.
The Bobcats are off now until Dec. 27 when they play Toledo Emmanuel Baptist in the Warrior Classic at Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio.
MADISON: Burciaga 1(1) 1-2 4, Grof 2 0-2 4, Neal 2 0-1 4, Benson 3 2-3 8, A. Nieto 0 0-1 0, Regalado 1 0-3 2, M. Nieto 2 1-1 5. Totals 11(1) 4-12 27.
WHITEFORD: S. Ruddy 0 3-4 3, Hill 4(3) 0-0 11, Rasor 6 0-0 12, Willis 1 2-5 4, Parker 1 0-2 2, Giesige 3 1-3 7, DeBarr 2 0-0 4, Andrews 1 0-1 2, Stevens 1 1-2 3. Totals 19(3) 7-17 48.