WHITING | Before the season even started, Whiting coach Tim Hopps didn't know what he had.
His primary message to each player was to be personally accountable. The Oilers took that message to heart this season, making a drastic turnaround from last year's 2-18 regular-season record.
Whiting (12-8) capped off the season with a trouncing of nonconference rival Clark, 71-46, on Friday night.
"The biggest goal I had coming in here was to change the mentality," Hopps said. "The first two games of the season and later against Morton down 23, we didn't play our best basketball, but we won because we stuck together as a family."
On their senior night, the host Oilers got off to a great start, hitting four of their first five shots on their way to an 8-0 run.
Clark (0-21) trailed 21-4 after the first quarter, scoring its only field goal on a layup from senior guard Javonte Boston.
The Pioneers also committed 11 turnovers in the first quarter.
Whiting was well-balanced in first-quarter scoring, with three players (Matt Ramirez, Adam Cuculich, Martin Petruf) getting five points apiece, while Matt Dvorscak chipped in four.
"They don't get on each other and don't blame each other," said Hopps, whose team has won five straight.
Dvorscak poured in a game-high 22 while senior guard Matt Ramirez scored 10.
"We have a lot more chemistry this year and a higher basketball IQ," said Cuculich, who scored 17 and added five steals.
Even though it committed 12 turnovers in the period, Clark climbed to within 13 in the waning moments of the third quarter because the Pioneers held the Oilers to just 10 points in the frame. But Whiting exploded for 23 in the fourth, including eight from Cuculich.