Miscues guide Bobcats to eighth-place finish
The BLHS boys basketball team found itself playing for pride, and playing Holton, in the seventh place game of their own Bobcat Invitational tournament last Friday night.
They weren't happy, and felt like they were capable of winning their second round game against Pembroke Hill, but because of missed free throws, the Bobcats saw the game slip out of reach.
"It's disappointing when you get in some games you know you can win," Bobcats coach Mike McBride said of his team who dropped to 2-6 on the season. "But when you don't execute, and miss uncontested lay-ups it's hard to win."
The Bobcats faced in Holton, another team they felt like they were capable of beating. After a torrid pace in the first couple of minutes the Bobcats found themselves behind 10-5, at the end of the first quarter.
This wasn't the first time the Bobcats have had trouble scoring early. But unlike in previous games where they were unable to score because they weren't getting good looks at the basket, versus Holton the Bobcats missed at least eight uncontested lay-ups in the first quarter alone.
Holton would open up the second quarter with a three pointer that could have easily taken the Bobcats out of the game mentally, which wouldn't have been surprising because it's a trend they've displayed in the past.
But the Bobcat seniors were determined not to finish last place in their own tournament. Joel VanderVelde, who finished with 11 points, opened up the scoring with a nifty move in the paint. And Michael Armstrong with 14, hit a three pointer to ignite a 9-0 Bobcat run, taking the lead.
Good offense unfortunately didn't equate into good defense, and the Bobcats gave up the lead, and found themselves on the tail end of the Holton fast break. They allowed three easy buckets in a row.
The Bobcats then began to rely on the Armstrong three pointer after he hit another with three minutes remaining in the half. Armstrong was unable to duplicate the feat, and neither were any of his teammates. The ice cold Bobcats went into the locker room at the half trailing 25-17.
During half time McBride decided that if his starters continued to miss shots, he would have to use his bench in the second half, despite the fact that the Bobcat bench has been used sparingly in close games this season. But it would be the bench that kept the game close.
Sophomore Matt Fanning and junior James Bishop both hit big threes late in the game to keep the Bobcats within striking distance.
"All our young kids came off the bench and played well tonight, McBride said. "I may be more apt to make more substitutions now."
Despite the bench's effort the Bobcats came close, but just couldn't take the lead, and lost another game they were capable of winning 51-46.
Even though the Bobcats have already equaled their win total from last year, in his first year, McBride isn't going to accept the fact that he inherited a team that is used to loosing, be an excuse for accepting loosing.
"This last game was it. There is no excuse any more," McBride said of a team who he feels could be at least 4-4, if not better. "We're getting close to being ready, but we have to start knowing we can win some games."
Knowing and doing are two entirely different things, and the Bobcats have showed a lack of both qualities. But they will have the opportunity to redeem themselves tonight as the face Pembroke Hill, in a game McBride feels they are capable of winning.
Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m., in the BLHS gym.