Western Sierra finishes with style

Matt Crow gets his day
By: Alex Stewart for The Placer Herald/News Messenger
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The Western Sierra Collegiate Academy boys basketball team played their last regular season home game last week, which could mean only one thing – senior night.

The Wolves wanted to send off every senior with a win. A win that would in turn: solidify a perfect 12-0 league record and a first for the school. It would also mean a Northern Pacific Athletic Conference championship banner and help improve their seeding for the playoffs – they succeeded.

Western Sierra helped the seniors have a special night by defeating the John Adams Academy Patriots 75-45.

And while it was a good evening for all the seniors, there was one in particular that had the night of his life.

Matt Crow, a 5-foot-8-inch senior guard, was called on to make the very first start of his career in his very last home game. And though the special-needs student had been limited in his playing time all season, he did not disappoint when put on his biggest stage.

Crow put the first points on the board by hitting a deep 3-point shot to give the Wolves an early lead. However, after Crow’s basket, the Wolves trailed midway through the first quarter, which is when the rest of the team stepped up.

With solid play from junior guard Gabe Whitecotton (14 points), senior forward Chris Cornell (12) and sophomore guard Hunter Barnum (10), the Wolves regained the lead and never relinquished it.

After his team took a solid lead, the man who started the game was asked to finish it.

With minutes left in the fourth quarter, Crow came back into the lineup and proceeded to drain two 3-pointers, bringing his point total on the night to a career-high nine and putting an exclamation mark on a Wolves’ senior- night victory.

Despite having the night of his career, Crow gave all the credit for his success to his teammates.

“I believe our team did great tonight and I’m looking forward to the playoffs,” Crow said. “I always work hard and play hard and I always expect the team to do that too, and they always do.”

That fact is something noticed by Crow’s teammates and WSCA head coach Jake Simms.

“Matt Crow has been a leader for us all year,” Simms said. “He breaks every huddle; he brings a positive spirit everyday; he’s always at practice and keeps the mood light.”

As for senior night, Simms credits Crow as the reason his team picked it up after a slow start.

“Everyone rallies around him, that wasn’t just a today thing,” said Simms. “The whole focus level went up and that gets him going, then he started knocking down some shots and that got everyone fired up.”

And as for Crow, he had a simple explanation for his extraordinary night.

“I was feeling the stroke and when I start making them, I just ball out,” he said.