FIRE EXTINGUISHED: Wildcats wipe out Word of Life in Leavenworth opener

By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com

Oh, what a difference a year makes.

One year ago at this time, the Washington Wildcats offense struggled out of the gate against Raytown South in an ugly opening tournament loss in Leavenworth, Kan.

For the 2012 team, it was the opposite.

Washington's offense clicked most of the game in a 77-49 win against the Word of Life Fire, a religious-based school out of Wichita, Kan. The offense was nice, but it was the defense that led the way for the Wildcats early on.

Washington's pressure defense forced eight first quarter turnovers as the Wildcats built a double-digit lead in the opening quarter.

Following a James Jappa basket that gave Washington a 10-8 lead, the Wildcats went to work. They used a 15-2 run to build a 25-10 lead - and they would maintain the double-digit advantage the rest of the game.

The leading scorer of the first half was Kameron Allen, who scored 11 points in the opening half and missed only one shot. His three-pointer in the second quarter extended the lead to 32-14.

Back-to-back baskets from senior Deandre King pushed the lead to 38-14.

The Fire trimmed down some of the deficit, but only came as close as 18 points before another Wildcats run put the game away for good.

Washington would increase its lead to 27 points in the third quarter. Washington's reserves pushed the lead up to 32 points in the fourth quarter.

Along with Allen and King's shooting performances, it was Jappa and fellow senior Kindred Williams who did some damage inside. Both Williams and Jappa dominated inside the paint in both rebounding and scoring. Williams used a strong second-half to push his point-total to 16 in the game.

It was the Washington defense that stood out, as the Wildcats forced about 20 turnovers in the game - some of which were cashed in for points in the form of easy layups.

Point-guard Jaamie Trevillion annoyed Word of Life the entire day, putting pressure on the Fire's guards and forcing a handful of those turnovers.

Washington starts the season 1-0. They'll take on Hogan Prep Friday night in the second round of the National Citizens Bank Classic.