The Waterville-Mansfield Shockers boys showed promise in their opening week, but they also showed they have room to grow. On Tuesday the Shockers opened their season with a 47-16 victory over the Cascade Christian Academy Wolverines. On Friday, they faltered against the Entiat Tigers 49-21. Then on Saturday, the Shockers showed fight but came up short against the Riverside Christian Crusaders 58-38.
The season opener went about as perfectly as possible in the second half. The Shockers had built a 19-11 lead at halftime before exploding out of the gate, beginning the third quarter with a 18-0 run. The defense shut down their opponents, allowing just five points in the entire second half. The Shockers also tallied 25 steals and 49 rebounds in the game to go along with their 47 points. The game was punctuated by a slam dunk by senior Gavin Haight.
First year head coach Joel Barnes was impressed with his team’s performance, although he saw room for his team to grow.
“All 12 players played and brought a lot to the table. It was our first game, so we had a few too many turnovers, but came out strong in the third, winning the quarter 18-0,” Barnes said.
Haight led the way scoring 19 points, while collecting 10 rebounds and blocking five shots. Braydon Murison also stood out, scoring eight points to go along with 12 rebounds.
Unfortunately, the Shockers struggled to find consistent scoring during Friday night’s game against the Tigers. Gavin Haight also got in to some early foul trouble, which took the opening night’s leading scorer off the floor and on to the bench. Still, Coach Barnes saw the learning opportunity the game provided and praised his team for continuing to fight.
“It was a great learning game and showed us what we need to focus on this week as a team at practice. I love how the team worked hard the whole game and did show a lot of fight,” he said.
Braydon Murison led the way for the night with six points. Max Murison contributed an additional five points.
With less than 24 hours to rest between Friday and Saturday’s games, the Shockers managed to show plenty of resiliency and improvement in Saturday’s game. The boys kept the game close with a strong defensive performance in the first quarter, as the boys trailed the Crusaders 6-9 at the quarter’s end. While Riverside Christian was able to extend their lead in the second quarter, the Shockers were able to go on a run just before halftime, they trailed 13-26 at the break. In the second half, the Crusaders switched to a half court trap that the Shockers struggled to find an answer for throughout the second half.
Barnes praised his team for continuing to fight through adversity.
“I’m proud of these guys for competing, keeping a positive attitude, and showing growth on both sides of the ball against a tough team,” he said.
Kaneem Island had a strong night with 11 points, including three three-pointers. Tyler Anders sank another two from behind the arc, to contribute six points. Gavin Haight also bounced back, recording six points and 15 rebounds.
Barnes recognized that his team still has a significant learning curve to master the system he has implemented, but he also has seen the team continue to grow and improve.
“We still have a lot to work on, but showed growth,” Barnes said.
Meanwhile the Junior Varsity team also showed promise, but with room to improve. On Wednesday, they lost to the Wenatchee Panthers 27-60. On Friday, the Shockers beat the Entiat Tigers 25-21. Finally, Saturday saw the boys lose to Brewster Bears 38-47.
This week the Shockers (1-2, 1-2 league) have nearly a full week to practice before traveling to Bridgeport to take on the Mustangs (0-3, 0-2 league) Friday night at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, they host the Soap Lake Eagles (2-2, 2-1 league) at 5:30 p.m. in Waterville. Both are league games.