Boys basketball dominates Northwood 64–37 in home opener

By Alex Weinstein

The boys basketball team (1–0) started the season off strong with a dominant 64–37 victory over the Northwood Gladiators (0–1). Despite a few mistakes along the way, the Vikes played like the superior team wire-to-wire and showed loads of potential while doing so. 

The defense was what really won the game for the Vikes. Whitman’s guard-heavy personnel executed their defensive schemes to near perfection; the Gladiators had trouble handling Whitman’s several aggressive zone defenses all night, as the Vikes combined for 15 steals. Senior guard Michael Ward tallied a game high four steals in the victory. 

After the game, junior point guard Preston Kuhn broke down the defensive clinic put on by the Vikes.

“Our fast-paced defense really messes with teams,” Kuhn said. “It’s hard to get into an offense when you’ve already taken half of the shot clock to get the ball over half court and set up your offense.”

On offense, the Vikes were able to overcome 18 turnovers and a slow start with stellar shooting down the stretch. Kuhn was hot right from the jump, scoring the team’s first 10 points and finished the game with 16 to go along with seven assists. Ward finished with 13 points, and the Vikes shot an impressive 8/15 from beyond the arc. 

However, there are always a few screws to tighten, and Tuesday’s opener showed a few potential areas of improvement. Due to the team’s smaller roster, Coach Lun has implemented a fast-paced run-and-gun offense, a change from previous years relying more on half-court sets. On Tuesday, the offensive strategy put points on the board, but the Vikes occasionally looked a bit sloppy and inefficient. The Vikes committed an aforementioned 18 turnovers and had trouble converting in the paint all night. 

“We definitely need to improve offensively,” Kuhn said. “Our roster is young and inexperienced at the varsity level, so there were a lot of nerves and jitters. I think that contributed to our struggles finishing around the rim.”

Albeit a few negatives, it was a phenomenal way to open the season, especially considering the fact that this was Whitman’s first regular season basketball game in over a year and a half due to the pandemic. Returning to the court felt great, senior forward Andrew Sanson said, and seeing fans in the stands were a welcome sight. 

“We feed off of the crowd,” Sanson said. “When you hit a three and people cheer, there’s no better feeling.”

The Vikings will travel to B-CC (1–0) for the first basketball Battle of Bethesda in almost two years on Friday at 7:15 p.m.