by Gene Helfman
The Lopez Lobos men and women opened their basketball season against Shoreline Christian at home, Dec. 6th in front of a packed house. The Lady Lobos took an early lead, ahead 6-3 after one period. Shoreline led briefly 7-6 in the second period but the Lobos quickly regrouped and were up 14-7 at the half. They held that lead through three periods despite better shooting by the Shoreline Chargers, the third quarter ending Lopez 19, Shoreline 14. What few first game jitters the Lobos may have had vanished in the fourth quarter as they poured in point after point while shutting down Shoreline’s offense. The game ended Lopez 33, Shoreline 15. Scoring was led by Glory Westervelt with 13 points, Dani Arnott with 9, Melissa Valencia with 7, and Ruby Ervin McLean with 4. Dani Arnott was a strong defensive presence under the basket, bringing down multiple rebounds.
Coach Karrie Warner couldn’t praise her players enough afterward, saying, “I am so proud of this young team. They are the hardest workers and we are just going to blossom this year. I just know it.”
The men’s game was a tale of two halves in a see-saw battle with the Chargers. Lopez came out strong with fast breaks led by senior Malachi Carey and good outside shooting and rebounding by sophomore Ethan Patrick. Lopez was ahead 15-10 at the end of the first quarter, and still led 28-25 at the half. Shoreline found their game in the second half, improving on both offense and defense. Lopez played even with Shoreline despite the Chargers’ significant height advantage, and the game was still within reach after three periods, Shoreline barely ahead 37-34. Lopez tied game at 37 apiece with under six minutes left to play. But Shoreline surged at the end, including hitting several free throws in the closing minute. The final score was Shoreline 45, Lopez 39.
Malachi Cary led scoring with 20 points, followed by Ethan Patrick with 17. Silas Gronley was the only other scorer, accounting for 2 points. Disappointment was evident by players and coaches afterward, given how close things were. Coach Shane Patrick was positive about the energy level and effort of the team and emphasized the need to clean up the offense, especially by getting more production from the bench.
The Lobos have one more home game this year on Dec. 13th against Tulalip, and then start the New Year with home games Jan 6th and 10th.