When I first saw NF (2-1) shooting around before the game and watched as Coach Wu paced the sideline nervously, I couldn’t help but ask him what his game plan against ND (2-1) was. After all, ND was the top seeded team and they had, up until this point, completely destroyed their previous opponents while NF had just come off a blowout loss against NA.
Coach Wu had just two words: “Play Angry”
And “play angry” they did. In what has become the signature for the Wolfpack, their unstoppable energy, fluid teamwork, and physical play with complete disregard for their own bodies catapulted them to another win Wednesday afternoon; this time knocking off top-seeded ND. In fact, NF’s swarming defense was so intense that they held ND – a team that typically averages 50+ points a game – to a season low 13 points in the first half. Combine that with Section F’s unrelenting assault against ND’s defense and you can understand how today’s outcome was inevitable. At one point, a thunderous dunk by Kwame Owusu-Kesse in the first half elicited a “you have got to be sh*tting me” from the ND bench. And, to be perfectly clear that Kwame was in fact not “sh*tting them”, Owusu-Kesse drove home a second dunk, this time off a beautiful alley-oop from starting point guard, Ezra Hernandez.
While the score was close for most of the game, F never trailed by more than two. With only a minute left in the game, and NF protecting just a three-point lead, Ezra Hernandez calmly drained the go-ahead basket from downtown and doubled the lead to six. After a Section D steal and ensuing three-pointer of their own cut the lead to three, Mike Schrader and Josh Johnson both sank two free throws apiece with only 14 seconds left to clinch the NF win over ND, 52-45.
Top performers for the game on the NF side included Ezra Hernandez, who finished with 15 points and 8 assists, Josh Johnson, who finished with 13 points and 3 steals, and Kwame Owusu-Kesse who notched his first double-double of the season with 11 points, 10 boards, and 3 blocks. Mike Schrader pitched in 7 points, and Rob Fraser pitched in 6 points and 4 assists. Also of note, previously unheralded player David Roth stalwartly held down the paint and single-handedly quashed any and all of ND’s efforts to score in the post.
The Wolfpack’s next game is home against NE (1-1) on Monday, April 11th, at 6:30 pm.
Notes: There was no shortage of crowd support from RC Section F despite this being an away game. The team would like to thank all of the other Wolfpack members that came out to cheer them on. We couldn’t have done it without you! Special thanks to the team photographer, Austin Crum, for his time and talent.