Basketball outlasts Ripon


Caryana Dominguez

UW-Whitewater player number zero, Elijah Lambert, waits to help out teammate, player number twenty-three, Carter Capstran, with offense at the game versus Ripon College, at the Williams Center.

Parker Olsen, Men’s Sports Editor

In a game of back and forth, lows and highs, hot and cold steaks, the UW-Whitewater basketball team (4-2) defeated Ripon College (3-2) 70-69 Nov. 26. inside Kachel Gymnasium. The victory was the first at home for the Warhawks and snapped a two game losing streak, it also sent Ripon into a two game losing streak.

A different looking starting five took the floor for the Warhawks due to a handful of sick players in addition to a continuing search for the best starting squad. Nick Pierson and Drew Fisher, who led the team with 15 points, both got their first starts of the year.

UW-Whitewater players huddle together with coaches, in a time-out, to strategize a new play, while at the game versus Ripon College, at the Williams Center.
(Caryana Dominguez)

The new starters had a rude greeting from Ripon as the Red Hawks opened the game with a bang, making each of their first five shots. Despite Ripon’s hot start the Warhawks hung with them well, never trailing by more than six points. 

At the half both teams entered the locker room shooting over 50% from the field, Ripon went 5-7 from three point range in the first half. With the game tied at 38 to start the second half, the Warhawks knew they were in for yet another close finish that would test their maturity.

The second half had a much colder shooting environment in this back and forth affair. The Warhawks shot 33.3% from the field in the second half while Ripon shot 36.7% from the field. 

Just after the 17 minute mark the Warhawks were able to take a lead, turning the tides into their favor after mostly trailing in the game. The lead would not stand for long as the Warhawks and Red Hawks traded leads and often found themselves tied.

Whitewater was three points behind with a minute and a half to play after struggling to put points on the board for the closing minutes. Thanks to a Miles Barnstable layup, Carter Capstran was in position to make big plays on both ends of the court.

Capstran kept the Warhawks within one point when he stole the ball in the paint as Ripon threatened to extend their lead. Less than 30 seconds later Capstran found himself hitting the game winning layup. 

“It was what we drew up, we had good execution on it and fortunately the shot went in,” Capstran said.

The 70-69 win was much needed for the Warhawks, as they have found themselves on the losing side of many close games like this one. Not only was it a confidence booster in general, but it also comes at a great time as they now enter WIAC play.

Four of the Warhawks starting five closed out the game in double figures. Ripon had three players finish with over ten points, Jaylen Mahone led the game with 23 points.

As always, head coach Pat Miller was happy to get the win but ultimately wants his team to get continually better. According to him, the team still needs to learn to stay mature in tough late game scenarios, and Ripon’s 66% free throw percentage aided heavily to the victory.

“It was good to get a close win, but we have to start evaluating ourselves on execution. For example I thought the last five minutes of the game offensively was poor, bad shot selection, we settled, we didn’t go deep into possessions. I thought defensively we were decent, so that was a positive,” Miller said. “We need to start showing more progress and maturity in those critical times.”

The Warhawks will start off WIAC play on Wednesday when they take on UW-La Crosse in Kachel Gymnasium at 7 p.m. They close out the week on Saturday in River Falls. Whitewater has not defeated La Crosse since 2020.