Defense expected to set the tone for Wildcats this season

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If Tuesday’s season opener was any indication, the Ferndale Wildcats could be a handful defensively for their Little 4 rivals this winter.

The Cats tipped off the new boys basketball season with a 57-39 loss at Del Norte, but head coach Tristan Waters was happy with the way his team played defense against the Big 5 power.

“That is a really legitimate team,” he said of the Warriors. “They’re a top two or three team in the county and I liked the way we played defense. We came out and it was a defensive battle.”

Senior Jack Westfall got the new season off to an impressive start at both ends of the court and scored a team-best 21 points in the loss.

Like the Cats defense, Westfall is also expected to be a handful for opponents in league play this year.

“He played his heart out,” the head coach said of the multi-sport standout who has transitioned seamlessly from the football field. “It seemed like he did what he wanted to.”

Fellow senior Kannon Christiansen also is expected to play a key role in the paint for the team this year, although he fouled out of Tuesday’s season opener and missed the stretch run.

“He’s the glue for our defense when he’s in the game,” Waters said. “And it showed when he fouled out.”

All in all, it was a good season opener for a team that is expecting to be more of a force in the Little 4 this winter after dropping all six league games a year ago.

“Overall, I was really proud of our team’s effort on defense,” Waters said. “Everybody’s doing everything I asked them to do.

“I think we’re going to hold teams to 50 or lower most of the season.”

A deeper and more experienced roster this year will also give the coaches more options, while this year’s team is notably taller than it was a year ago.

Next up, the 0-1 Wildcats will play at the Point Arena tournament this weekend.

Categories: Basketball, Ferndale

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