Blake Derickson was the perfect example of a big man for the Oshkosh West Wildcats.
With Derickson taken full advantage of the height advantage the Wildcats had over the Ripon Tigers, West earned a hard fought 60-56 victory over the Tigers in the Fratello’s Fieldhouse Holiday Basketball Tournament Saturday night.
West jumped out to a early lead, scoring the first five point of the game, and limiting Ripon to just one shot on their first three possessions with their superior height. Derickson paced the Wildcats in the first stanza, scoring five points and pulling down two rebounds. Derickson finished with 19 points.
“I think Derickson had a great weekend,” said West head coach Jason Fahrney. “He was very assertive around the basket and I thought he rebounded well. He just had a really nice weekend.”
The second quarter, and the overall scoring lead for players, belonged to Ripon’s Bryce Bauman. The 6-4 senior had seven points in the stanza, most contested by at least two defenders, as the Tigers took their first lead of the game at 16-15. As a matter of fact, their were seven lead changes in the hotly contest second stanza, with a bucket at the buzzer by West’s Andrew Boeder to give the Wildcats a 31-27 lead at halftime.
“He is going to see our opponents best defender every night. When a team does that, you have to be patient to get open,” Ripon head coach Dean VanderPlas said of Bauman. “He is getting better every night and learning to be the best player on the floor. I was real pleased with the way he handled the second quarter to make a run for us.”
The Tigers came out firing on cylinders in the third quarter, attacking both the Wildcats and the boards. Ripon started the stanza on a 9-1 run and dominated the glass 4-0 until the Wildcats called a time out. Ripon, lead by Mason Stangl, continued the run, outscoring the Wildcats 16-10 in the quarter to take a two point lead into the fourth quarter. Stangl finished with 17 points.
“I thought Mason Stangl was one of the best players on the floor tonight,” VanderPlas said. “He did a good job of keeping us in the game.”
A definite turning point in the game came with about three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Bauman drove to the basket with West clinging to a 52-48 lead. Andrew Boeder was called for a foul, and didn’t agree with the call and was promptly hit with a technical foul. Bauman knocked down all four free throws, knotting the game up at 52. The Wildcats got a huge tip in from Stanek to help them hold on for the victory.
“That was almost a seven point swing for us, because off the in-bounds Bauman had just a great look but it didn’t go down,” VanderPlas said. “We had some momentum, but then Stanek had a great tip-play that kinda stemmed the tide.”
For West, Fahrney saw a lot of potential in his charges.
We have a lot of execution things we need to get better at. It is just the first two games, but what I am most happy with is our kids’ heart,” he said. We were in some tough spots both nights, but our kids kept fighting; they didn’t roll over. That is what I most happy with coming out of this weekend. The other stuff we will just keep working on.”