The Saline Hornets varsity hoops team dropped to 1-10 on the season, and 0 for 2015, losing Friday night to the Tecumseh Indians 50-45. The game followed a familiar theme-- the Hornets putting together a half of tough defense, running the designed offensive plays and making timely shots. Unfortunately, too frequently a great first half has been followed by second half with the team playing soft defense, missing easy shots and committing untimely turnovers.
“We played a great first half, with intense defense, making our shots in the offensive zone,” Saline head coach Eric Williams said. “But we played like crap in the second half. We gave up 15 points in the first half and 35 in the second. We had bad vision defensively in the second half and were caught out of position too many times.”
The Hornets raced out to a 14-8 lead, paced by senior guard David Elms’ seven first quarter points. Elms hit a three-point jumper from the top of the key to open the scoring. The Hornets’ twin towers, Brenden and Brett Nearing both played strong games under the basket. Brenden finished the game with six points and three rebounds, Brett with five and two rebounds. Throughout the entire game the Hornet offense would feed the ball inside to one of their big guys and they would take the ball strong to the basket, drawing fouls. It was the team’s inability to make lay-ups and free throws throughout the entire game that sent the team down to defeat.
“We had the right plays designed and got the ball into the hands of the right players. We just have to make the lay-ups,” a dejected Coach Williams said.
When asked what he thought happens to his team when their play falls flat, Williams responded, “I believe when players see one of their teammates miss a shot, mentally they think, ‘oh no, here we go again.’ And they start to doubt their own ability, start to press and mentally lose focus. The coaches preach over and over, play with confidence. Go to the foul line with confidence. If you miss a shot, believe that you will make the next one,” Williams said.
Saline went into the locker room with a 23-15 lead, only to watch Tecumseh start the third quarter with a 10-2 run. The Indians outscored Saline 14-7 in the third to cut the Hornet lead to one point, 30-29, heading into the final quarter. The lead changed hands several times before Tecumseh took the lead for good 34-33 with 4:43 left in the game. The Hornets kept it close but was not able to regain the lead. The fouls shots were more balanced this game, unlike some recent games. Tecumseh made 17 of 29 free throws, Saline 11 of 20.
The Hornets were led by Elms’ and senior guard Cam Cole’s nine points. Brenden and Bret Nearing had 6 and 5 points, respectively. Matt Rosati, Kyle Grill and David Strobbe each scored four.
The Hornets get back into action on Wednesday, hosting Lincoln Park at 7 p.m.
JV SQUAD ROMPS OVER TECUMSEH, WIN 46-20
The Saline Hornets junior varsity team raised their record to 8-3 on the season with a 46-20 rout over the Tecumseh Indians Friday night. The Hornets applied both full court press and zone trap defense which forced Tecumseh into multiple first half turnovers. By the time the first half ended, the Hornets headed to the locker room with a 28-4 lead. That is when you know your defensive pressure is hitting on all the cylinders—when you limit your opponent to four points in 16 minutes of play.
“We wanted to play intense defense, jump on the opponent and get right after them,” head coach Jacob Fosdick said. “Sophomore Ryan Foley, our point guard, set the tone. When players see him playing so hard, going after every loose ball without having to score points, it affects how everyone plays.”
For the second straight game, Coach Fosdick substituted freely in the second half. The Hornets kept cruising along taking a 38-13 lead into the final quarter. But Coach Fosdick got on his team prior to the start of the fourth quarter stating “nine points are too many to give up. We need to tighten up on defense and finish this game strong.”
And tighten up they did, outscoring the Indians 8-7 to finish the game.
The JV squad spread the scoring out being led Jacob Finkbeiner’s 11 points, Calder Pellerin with 8 and Ryan Foley’s 7. Justin Zylstra and Lance Moorer chipped in five, Kyle Herrin had 4, Adam Heiser 3, Kyle Nouhan 2 and Blake Stringer chipped in 1.
The JV squad get back into action on Wednesday, hosting Lincoln Park. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m. at Saline High School.