Three Bobcats scored in double figures to lead the Western Dubuque boys’ basketball team to a 61-43 thumping of Waterloo West in Epworth, Dec. 21.

Carson Schute posted 16 points while Nick Bryant chipped in 15 and Daviyon Gaston added 12 to give the Bobcats a much-needed victory.

The Bobcats improved to 3-4 for the season, 1-1 in the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division. This win comes after the Bobcats suffered two double-overtime losses where they lost fourth-quarter leads.

“We are at our best when we’re playing fast and sharing the basketball. We’ve got the guys who can knock them down, it’s just them getting the confidence,” said Grady Gallagher, head coach. “The past couple of games we struggled to get the ball to fall, but now confidence is starting to rise. I think we got over a little mental hump tonight.”

Western Dubuque never trailed in the game with Waterloo West. Bryant’s three-pointer from the corner got things rolling for the Bobcats as Schute followed with a fast break to grab a 5-0 lead. After a basket by Waterloo West’s Saheed Pryce, Schute’s lay-up on a pass by Jackson Ingalsbe ignited an 11-0 run and an 18-6 lead after the first quarter.

Ingalsbe scored five and Schute four in the second quarter as the Bobcats extended their lead to 16, going into halftime ahead 30-14.

Schute’s three-point play gave the Bobcats their largest lead of the game as they went up 20, 37-17. After back-to-back baskets by the Wahawks cut the lead to 16, Bryant’s three-point bomb from the wing with 3:52 left to play in the third quarter made it 19 points.

That’s when things started to get a little too close for comfort. West closed the quarter on a crazy 12-2 run that quickly trimmed the lead to nine going into the final nine minutes.

“The big thing was we needed to stay aggressive. Last week, we pulled the ball out to run time off the clock and tried not to make mistakes, but that’s not how we want to play,” said Gallagher. “We want to force the defense to make mistakes and we’ll do that by us staying aggressive. Attacking the basket, making good passes, back door cuts. That’s what we’re about. We need to play free and confident no matter what the score is.”

And that’s exactly what the Bobcats did as they responded by scoring the first nine points of the quarter to build the lead back to 18. Bryant scored six of the nine while running mate Schute splashed a three-pointer.

“We lost a couple of heartbreakers last week. We just weren’t making that one play when we really needed it. On defense, we’re playing as hard as possible and we did that tonight,” said Bryant, a senior and co-team captain for the Bobcats.

“It means a lot to be the leader of this team. The best feeling is coming away with a win and seeing my teammates playing well. It felt great to get that win tonight.”

One of the big keys to the Bobcats getting this win was their ability to lock up the Wahawks’ top scorer Si’Marion Anderson, held to just five points, 17 under his 22.4 points a game average.

“We want to take away their number one and number two options and see what happens. It’s just making their not best players try to beat us,” said Gallagher. “I like our chances and I like the guys that we throw out there. Tonight, we did a much better job rebounding which was also very important to help us get that win.”

WD’s statistical leaders against Waterloo West were: points — Schute 16, Bryant 15, Gaston 12, Ingalsbe nine, Caleb Klein four, Colton McIlrath three, Jake Goodman two; rebounds — Klein 10, Bryant six, Gaston, Goodman and Schute five, Ingalsbe and McIlrath three; assists — Bryant five, Ingalsbe, Klein and Schute three, Gaston and Goodman two, McIlrath one; steals — Ingalsbe two, Bryant, Goodman and Klein one; blocks — Klein one.