Whitfield didn't get off to the start Warriors Head Coach Mike Potsou wanted Wednesday against Sumner, but his basketball team used a 10-0 run to start the second half and never looked back against the visiting Bulldogs in a 69-41 win.
Junior Dmitri Rucker paced the Warriors with 32 points and 11 rebounds as Whitfield (1-1) converted errant Sumner shots on the defensive end into points on offense.
"It's a good learning experience. I'm glad we're able to win and learn from it hopefully to understand that regardless of what time you play, who you play, where it is that you have to be ready to play high school basketball and get ready to compete," Potsou said.
Whitfield's 2012-13 squad has had to replace Rucker's older brother, forward Darius Rucker, point guard Darrion Harris, and guard Zach Ellis who now suit up for Fontbonne, Bradley and Missouri S&T, respectively, at the college level.
Potsou's squad goes about six deep, thanks to an early good impression made by freshman guard Bryce Berry.
"He remains pretty poised and is competitive and right now those are the things, some of the intangible qualities that we need on this time, and I feel like we've gotten a man deeper which is nice," Potsou said of Berry.
Senior guards Cody Washington and Justin Thomas will be backcourt leaders for the Warriors this season, but the key in the frontcourt will be getting the good-natured Rucker, who Potsou calls "a Teddy bear" off the court to play like he's 'the man' on the court.
"He is just a wonderful human being and we just need him to learn how to flip that switch to be a little bit more focused and competitive when games come."
The Warriors wrap up their tournament against Cardinal Ritter Friday at 7:30 p.m.