Boys Basketball: Redwood defeats Mt. Whitney to earn a share of WYL title

The Rangers ended their season on a seven game winning streak as they tied Hanford for first place

By Madison Tamayo
Special to the Gazette

VISALIA – The Redwood’s boys basketball team secured a piece of first place in the West Yosemite League with a win over Mt. Whitney last Thursday.  They pulled out the 55-52 victory and ended their season with a 8-3 record. 

The Rangers had a tough start to the season but quickly turned it around. Redwood’s head coach, Jason Black, described this season as exciting and believed that his team had a chance to win every time they touched the floor. 

“The turning point [in the season] was our five game losing streak. That streak brought us together and we decided that we wanted to win,” Black said. 

Redwood lost their first three league games plus two exhibition games during that stretch. They closed out the season on a seven game winning streak culminating with the narrow victory over the Pioneers.

“We came from the bottom of the league to champions,” senior Nate Marroquin said.

 A turning point in the game for Marroquin was a halftime speech given by his coach at halftime.

 “He basically told us to give it our all and that uplifted us and helped us give 110%,” Marroquin said.

 Coach Black says that senior Connor Gilcrest played a key role in the win. 

“When Connor stepped up, then we took off,” Black said. 

Gilcrest, a three year varsity player, pitched in 10 points in the last league game of his high school career. Gilcrest describes this year’s team as a close-knit hard working group. 

“[Different players] made way for moments in the game that motivated everyone else to keep fighting,” Gilcrest said. 

The team will now travel to Monache on Tuesday, Feb. 18 for the first round of the Division II playoffs. The final was reached after press time.

“We have to just have to sharpen our skills and remain who we are,” Black said.

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