Mitch Fordyce’s tip-in basket at the buzzer allowed Waterloo West to hand the Western Dubuque boys’ basketball team its first loss of the season, 39-37, at Waterloo, Dec. 22.

It was an up and down game for the Bobcats as they struggled to get things going offensively. Waterloo West (4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division) managed to jump out to a 12-2 lead after the first quarter, but Western Dubuque rebounded in the second quarter to go into halftime down just one, 14-13.

“They’re athletic and they defend really hard. We knew that coming into the game,” said Ben Wilson, assistant coach of the Bobcats. “I give them credit, they had a good game plan and they took away what we like to do on the offensive end of the floor.”

The Bobcats’ offensive troubles continued into the second half as Waterloo West came out of halftime focused on making it as difficult as possible for Western Dubuque to get scoring from their guards.

“It was hot and cold for us offensively,” said Wilson. “We didn’t have Carson Schute in the line-up because he had his wisdom teeth taken out and that made a big difference for us. The way we space the floor and the way that we like to run a lot of our stuff, he’s really important for what we like to do.

“And we didn’t play particularity well. So it was kind of the perfect storm against us,” said Wilson.

The Bobcats were outscored 17-9 in the third quarter with Dylan Johnson being the only reliable offensive threat. Johnson scored five points in the quarter along with Nick Bryant’s three and Andrew Oltmanns made one of two from the free throw line.

Down by nine entering the final quarter, the Bobcats tried to dial up a comeback but came up just short, unable to keep the Wahawks off the offensive glass late in the game.

Johnson knocked down two three-pointers on his way to scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter. Bryant added his second three-pointer of the half while Tommy DeSollar scored two in the surge that came up short.

“This one hurt,” said Wilson about the Bobcats’ first loss of the season. “You could tell just looking at the guys that this loss stung a lot. They really care. They really want to win and they expect to win. We’ll get better. We’ll improve. We’re going to keep moving forward after the break. The season is just beginning for us.”

The Bobcats are looking forward to getting back onto the court Jan. 2 when they host an old WaMaC foe West Delaware (3-3) at 1 p.m. Then they dive back into the Mississippi Valley Conference hosting Dubuque Wahlert (3-0) Jan. 5 and then playing Linn-Mar (1-2) on the road Jan. 8.

“Before the season started if you told me we would be 5-1 before the (holiday) break I’d take that every year,” said Wilson. “However, it really sucks to go into the break with that loss, but at the same time we’re at a really good position right now in both the conference and our overall record.”

WD’s leaders against Waterloo West were: points — Johnson 17, Bryant eight, DeSollar five, Baumhover four and Oltmanns three. No other statistics were available at press time.