By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Consecutive career highs as CWU pushes for playoffs

Colby+Gennett+makes+an+unbalanced+three-pointer.+Photo+courtesy+Jacob+Thompson%2FThompson+Sports+Media
Colby Gennett makes an unbalanced three-pointer. Photo courtesy Jacob Thompson/Thompson Sports Media

Coming into the final stretch of the CWU men’s basketball season, the Wildcats sit at an overall record of 15-8 and 8-6 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) play. Following a loss on the road to Northwest Nazarene, the Wildcats need to make a strong push at the end of the season for playoffs. Junior guard Colby Gennett and freshman forward Maverick Sanders have stepped up, dropping career highs that resulted in wins for CWU.

Both of their career highs came against the two Alaskan colleges in the GNAC with Sanders’ being against the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Gennett’s against the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). Sanders came first on Feb. 8 in an 88-60 blowout win where he led the team with 26 points on 10-17 shooting. As a freshman, Sanders is typically not the primary scorer but has started every game in his first year and has stepped up when he is needed. 

“I don’t think it was really part of the game plan going into it,” Sanders said. “I just started hitting some shots and then coach [Brandon Rinta] put his trust in me and started calling some plays for me and I followed through.”

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Maverick Sanders goes up for a right-handed floater. Photo courtesy Jacob Thompson/Thompson Sports Media

 

Just two days later was Gennett’s career high, the Wildcats were able to win their game with a score of 75-66 sending both the Alaskan teams back home with losses. His shot was perfect that game, shooting 7-7 from the field and 2-2 from the free throw line, not letting his shots go anywhere but through the basket and finishing with 19 points. “It was one of those days where that first shot went in, then I was never forcing anything and just taking what they gave me,” Gennett said. “Having my teammates and coaches trust me and put me in spots where I can get some easy buckets is really what happened all game.”

Both athletes grew up around the sport of basketball and were pushed to try it out at a young age. Sanders said he fell in love with the game because of his athletic family urging him to play, he started at age five. Gennett said basketball is in his family’s blood because he has two older sisters that both played basketball, and both of his parents were athletes. He was born and raised around basketball and loved it from the moment he started playing. 

With the GNAC Tournament coming up Gennett was able to give his outlook on the season and what fans can look forward to. “The season has been good, like any other season there will be ups and downs,” Gennett said. “But I think as far as the future, this team has shown what they are capable of. If we play to the level we know we can play at I know we’re in for a long run.”

Sanders also mentioned how he is excited for the tournament and proving to others that CWU can beat any of the other teams that they compete against. While he is not the only freshman that gets playing time, there are plenty of upperclassmen on the team and Sanders mentioned what he has been able to learn from the players with more experience under their belt. 

“Preparation is very important,” Sanders said. “Scouting and watching film before the game and knowing what the person you guarding is doing and what they are capable of doing.”

Gennett was also recently one of the five players that earned a GNAC All-Academic honors; not only was this his third consecutive year being honored but he is also leading the team with the highest GPA (3.82). CWU is currently tied with UAA and Saint Martin’s University for the most honorees. Next up for the Wildcats is an away game against the Simon Fraser University Red Leafs. The game will be happening tonight (Thursday, Feb. 22) at 7 p.m. The last time CWU played them, the Red Leafs were knocked out by a 92-68 score. 

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