by Carley Davis
The WHS boys basketball team suffered a close loss to Dunellen at Rahway High School 60-55 on Feb. 4.
The game started off quickly as Dunellen built an early six point lead. WHS scored its first points of the game when junior Keegan Hess drew a foul and made both foul shots. Then Junior Scott Toresco and Hess each scored a layup. The quarter concluded with Dunellen in the lead, 14-6.
According to freshman Danny Mitchell, "The team came out flat because [we] weren’t mentally ready for the level of competition."
Despite baskets from Toresco, Hess and junior Henry Smith, Dunellen still maintained the lead in the beginning of the second quarter.
Senior Ozan Yucetepe completed a three point play and then WHS began to use a full court press. Hess swiftly intercepted a pass and fed the ball to senior Captain Nate Mitchell, resulting in a layup. Yucetepe followed with another layup ending the half with Dunellen leading, 25-22.
The second half began with WHS and Dunellen exchanging baskets, preventing Dunellen from extending their lead. To close the third quarter, N. Mitchell and D. Mitchell both connected on three-pointers, making the score 43-39, Dunellen.
In the final quarter, Toresco missed a shot but was able to recover the rebound to tie up the game. On WHS’ next possession Yucetepe was fouled and made both free throws, putting WHS in the lead. Dunellen immediately counteracted with a three-pointer putting them back on top. With about three minutes left, N. Mitchell collided with a Dunellen player, resulting in a head injury, taking him out of the game.
According to D. Mitchell, "Nate’s injury...impacted the end of the game because he is our team captain, so without him on the floor, we played less like a team."
Hess made a three-pointer tying the score, but Dunellen capitalized on all of their foul shots, allowing them to win the game.
Said Head Coach Daryl Palmieri: "I was proud of how the team fought down the stretch. We came to grips that we did not play our best, but we fought and tried to pull it out. We did enough to put us in position to win the game but sometimes that is not enough."