WCCA boys succumb to pressure in 53-33 loss to Bowling Green Bucs

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 31, 2004

WOODVILLE &045; So what are the holidays good for if you’re a basketball coach?

Can’t come up with something positive, can you?

At least it reminded both WCCA and Bowling Green what they struggled against earlier this season, and it left both teams scratching their heads a bit wondering why some things didn’t work as well as they did before taking off before Christmas.

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That’s why, as the saying goes, they play these games. The Buccaneers got it going pretty well in the second half with a pressure defense to take a 53-33 win in the first day of the WCCA Shootout Thursday.

&uot;Holidays killed us,&uot; Rams head coach Ray Olive said. &uot;They were rusty, and we were rusty. You could tell they were a lot better than what they started out. We had two practices, and I’ve yet to have everybody out there. That’s why we need this. But the effort was there, and we hustled. It was an entertaining game for a 20-point loss.&uot;

The first half was enough to make Bowling Green head coach Richy Spears grumble well after the game, although his Buccaneers used a 1-3-1 half-court trap defense at the start of the third quarter to put the game away.

The Buccaneers (11-4) led by only three just before halftime and were playing without starting guard Robbie Crain, who was out with an injury.

&uot;We didn’t play very well,&uot; Spears said. &uot;I don’t know what’s wrong with them. I guess we shouldn’t have practiced basketball yesterday &045; I don’t know. Most of the time we play man (defense). I’m just trying to do some different stuff. We’re trying to work on some things besides the man to get some turnovers.&uot;

The pressure was a big factor at the start of the third quarter, and the Buccaneers made the switch at the right time. They held a 16-13 lead just before half until Rob Jones canned a 3-pointer with one second left in the half for a 19-13 lead at the break and a little momentum on their side.

When play resumed in the third quarter, the Buccaneers brought the pressure on the guards and took all the momentum.

&uot;Earlier in the game we applied a lot of pressure on the defensive end and got them out of their game a little bit,&uot; Olive said. &uot;When they brought that trap and brought pressure on us, it was a good move. It took us out of our game and blew our minds a little. We’ve seen it. I’m not making excuses &045; we should have been able to handle it. We had all our big men tonight but were missing one of our ball handlers.

&uot;I had to move Lavalle (Johnson) to a ball handler instead of underneath, but he’s more than capable of handling that. They came out in the second half ready to play.&uot;

The pressure led to turnovers and easy buckets for the Bucs, who took to their six-point lead like the Christmas break hadn’t happened. Jones hit another 3-pointer as the Rams played most of the game in a 2-3 zone, and Hunter Creel hit a bucket with 4:28 left for a 28-15 lead.

The Rams got a 3-pointer from Greg Garner their next trip down, but Adam Thomas scored off a turnover, Justin Daniels knocked down a triple and Dustin Hall scored on a putback with 1:35 left for a 35-18 lead.

&uot;It’s a 1-3-1 trap, and we ran it in the first half,&uot; Spears said. &uot;But we didn’t play it very well.&uot;

Bowling Green put its lead at 39-22 at the end of the third after getting the lead to 19 when Daniels put in a layup off a turnover with 31 seconds left, but Garner chipped in a bucket with six seconds left.

The lead got to 20 at the 4:58 mark in the fourth when Jones hit two free throws for a 46-26 lead.

&uot;They had the big run in the third quarter, and we came out cold,&uot; Olive said. &uot;In the first and third quarters we couldn’t hit anything.&uot;

The Rams’ zone, however, worked in the first half more as they were able to minimize their turnovers on the offensive end despite trailing 10-1 after one. Even with five misses from the free-throw line in the first four minutes, the Rams cut it to one with 2:08 left in the second when Garner put in a layup after getting a steal in the press to cut it to 12-11.