'We wanted to get back at them:' Wapahani exacts revenge with victory over Yorktown

Yorktown senior Kieran Tewari shoots the ball Feb. 17 against Wapahani at Wapahani High School. David Moore, DN
Yorktown senior Kieran Tewari shoots the ball Feb. 17 against Wapahani at Wapahani High School. David Moore, DN

Earlier in the season, the Yorktown Tigers handed the Wapahani Raiders their first loss of the year in the semifinals of the Delaware County Tournament. 

“We wanted to get back at them,” Wapahani head coach Matt Luce said. “We were disappointed in the way we played and we felt like we could’ve played better and we got our second chance at them.”

This time, Wapahani (19-2) hit the hardwood against Yorktown (12-9) for the Raiders’ homecoming on Saturday evening with revenge on their mind. In the end, the Raiders would avenge their previous defeat and take the victory 40-38.

Both teams wanted to run right from the opening tip. However, their respective defenses played well in transition early, slowing down the pace of the game. The rebounding for the Tigers early was dominating, limiting second chances for the Raiders. But they couldn’t take advantage of many of their own.

The green and black relied on the post-play of senior Mason Moulton as he drove into the paint to try and kickstart their offense

“He was outstanding,” Yorktown assistant coach (and acting head coach) Arun Tewari said. “He’s tough on the boards, finishing at the rim, playing his outstanding defense, and that’s exactly what we expect.”

In Wapahani’s transition opportunities, there seemed to be some quick shots that stunted their offense through the opening quarter. Neither side gained much momentum as the opening period ended knotted 8-8.

The offenses started flowing in the second quarter, and the stars were shining bright with Yorktown seniors Kieran Tewari and Jacob Grim. The two started to hit their jump shots, which allowed them to jump out to an early lead halfway through the second 22-13.

The white and red’s offensive struggles continued, being unable to consistently find open shots. When shots were open, the Raiders couldn’t seem to get a friendly home roll off of the rim. 

“[I told them] to even themselves and stay confident,” Luce said. “We kept telling them to make the right play and keep believing.”

With the lack of offensive efficiency, the defense needed to be a calling card for the Raiders to keep pace with the Tiger offense. Wapahani junior Nate Luce took charge on that end of the floor for the Raiders.

“[He brings] a lot of energy and hustle,” Matt said. “He’s in the right spot and never gives up. He has the heart of a lion. I’m very proud of him as a coach and as a dad.”

With the combination of poor offensive execution for Wapahani and the Tiger offense firing on all cylinders, Yorktown was able to push out to a double-digit lead as they headed into the break up 25-15.

The second half didn’t start much differently for the red and white. Shots still would not go in the basket no matter who shot them.

“Next shot goes in mentality,” Andrews said. “Whenever I get in and shoot every morning and get my shots up, it’s for coming out like this and being confident even when things aren’t going in.”

About halfway through the third quarter, it became a game of runs. Wapahani, having hit their stride offensively, made a surge to close to within five points of Yorktown. 

But the Tigers’ offense was still flowing like a well-oiled machine and answered back with a run of their own to push their lead back out to nine. Alongside the offense, the defensive effort of the green and black to wrangle Andrews was a sight to behold for the majority of the game, holding him to only twelve points.

“Nate Tyler [was] guarding him [and] did a terrific job,” Tewari said. “It was a complete team effort, and we executed our game plan well defensively.”

With the third quarter coming to a close, Yorktown was able to stifle off a run by the Raiders to go into the final period up by seven, 35-28.

Mason Moulton.jpg
Yorktown Mason Moulton shoots the ball Feb. 17. against Wapahani at Wapahani High School. Moulton led the Tigers with 12 points in the game. David Moore, DN.

The momentum swung nearly immediately to Wapahani as soon as the fourth quarter began. All of a sudden, the Tigers couldn’t handle the ball or the defensive pressure that was being applied by the Raiders.

“Our guys battled and believed in their defense,” Luce said. “The game got closer and things got tighter, we were able to make some stops and get the ball again.”

What had plagued the red and white for the entirety of the game all of a sudden had worked its way over to the Tiger bench as they went ice cold from the field in the fourth, being held to just three points in the period.

The crowd could sense the momentum shifting after a couple of possessions into the quarter, and with each turnover forced and basket scored, the cheers grew louder and louder trying to egg on their Raiders.

“When we started that run, they were going insane,” Andrews said. “I thought the roof was going to blow off this place. They’re amazing and their support is always great.”

Even after calling multiple timeouts to try to calm his team down, Tewari’s words could only go so far. The cold shooting was contagious, and it never stopped for the remainder of the game. 

The Tigers had two shot attempts to tie the game at the final buzzer, but both shots clanked off the front iron much to the joy of the Raider faithful.

With the win, Wapahani will have their senior night on Friday, Feb. 23, against Shenandoah. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Yorktown will also host their senior night on that day when they take on Hoosier-Heritage Conference foe Mt. Vernon. The game is set to tip-off at 7:30 p.m.

Contact David Moore with comments at david.moore@bsu.edu or on X @gingninj63


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue

Loading Recent Classifieds...