Since the week before exams, the Rangers have played in 13 games, including 4 district games and 7 tournament games.
Coming off the tough loss to ESD in Jesuit’s home tournament championship, the Rangers faced last year’s district rival, Plano West, before beginning the Flower Mound Marauder/Jaguar Classic. They lost to the Wolves of West by a score of 44-67, with West’s size and ability proving too much for the injury-stricken Rangers. Jesuit went 2-2 in the Flower Mound tournament, beating Newman Smith 69-46, losing to Garland 42-48, beating Dallas Madison 58-51, and finally losing to Flower Mound High 38-44. The week of December 13th featured a tough game against the state-ranked Flower Mound Marcus Marauders as a warm up for district play. The Rangers could not stop the duo of juniors Phil Pressley and Marcus Smart and lost the contest 39-63. Friday night started off district play at Loos Field House against W.T. White. Continuing in a little bit of a funk, Jesuit squeaked out a 38-37 win over the much less talented Longhorns. Next Tuesday’s game was against the favorite to win the district, Richardson Berkner. The Rangers came out hot, winning the first quarter by 12, and had that same lead at half. The Rams won the third quarter 18-4 though, and that proved to be the difference as the Rangers evened their record in district with a loss, 63-56.
The team had the week of Christmas off and prepared for the Plano Wildcat annual holiday tournament. The Rangers started the tournament in a dramatic fashion winning 62-61 on a last second acrobatic shot by Brian Wetzel to beat Rowlett. The next matchup proved to be close but tough as the Rangers lost to the stellar shooting of McKinney 76-71. In the third place game, Jesuit faced the Scots of Highland Park. The game was featured on TV and it was a good one all the way through. The Rangers lost the fourth quarter by 4 to lose the game in heartbreaking fashion, 57-56.
The first game of the New Year restarted district play as the Rangers went head to head with Skyline at Forrester Field House. The Rangers played solid all night long and were looking for that spark to push them over the edge of a lead. They were down four at half and came out strong in the third quarter. The Rangers were led both offensively and defensively by senior Jeff Schoettmer, as he guarded the Raiders’ best player, and put in 16 points shooting 80% from the floor. It came down to the wire as Skyline knocked in a 3 with about 4 seconds left for the Rangers, down 49-46. Jesuit got the ball to half court and called a timeout with a little over 3 seconds to play. Coach Hill drew up a great play and got senior leader and point guard Brian Wetzel for a wide open three from the corner; it looked great, just a little short as it hit front rim and came back. The score remained 49-46 and the Rangers went home disappointed, thinking they let one slip away.
With the loss to Skyline, Friday’s game at Richardson High School was a huge game for the Rangers in district. The Eagles were 3-0 and atop the district and the Rangers needed a win to even their record at 2-2. After a poor shooting night just a few days before against Skyline, Brian Wetzel bounced back in stellar fashion and led Jesuit to a convincing 55-44 win over Richardson. They won the second half by 9. Wetzel had 15 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists as he hit pull up after pull up in crucial moments in the third and fourth quarters. Sophomore Steven Spieth added 14 points and 6 rebounds of his own and junior Reid Leinbaugh almost came in with a double-double for the night, 10 points and 9 rebounds. When asked to recap the middle of the season and start of district play, Coach Hill said “I’m very hopeful for the future. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs, but I’m looking forward to see what the boys can do down the stretch in district. I think we still have a great shot to be really good.”
Friday night poses what may be the biggest game of the season so far. It will be the 2nd Annual Gold Out for Jesuit fans, and the first 500 students will receive a 6th Man t-shirt. They will face off against Lake Highlands High School at Jesuit at 7:30 in what should be an exciting game for a packed house in Jesuit’s gym.