Cobras' defensive intensity too much for Ravens in second half
If you needed any evidence that basketball is a game of runs, Friday’s contest between the Jackson Heights and Maur Hill boys did a great job of proving it.
After the Cobras came out hot and took an early lead, the Ravens answered immediately before Jackson Heights’ defense took its toll and helped the team pull ahead for good in a 61-42 home victory.
“I wouldn’t expect anything else, you know. That’s basketball. We started well, but like they were going to go away. No way they’re going away, they’re going to keep playing hard, so I’m just very proud of the way we responded in the third quarter,” JH coach Chris Brown said. “I just think our effort level was so much higher.”
“We got on them a little at halftime and then they responded very well. They came out extremely fired up,” Brown said. “They understood that it was going to take that next level of effort. Hopefully in the future it doesn’t take us the halftime to remind them of that.”
The Cobras went through a microcosm of that in the first quarter, as the Ravens took an early 6-5 lead shortly into the game before Heights closed the opening period on a 13-2 run. Wyatt Olberding hit two big threes to help spark the run and build up a 10-point lead for the home team.
Maur Hill was unfazed, though, and the visitors immediately responded with a 9-0 run to start the second quarter. While Zane Richter hit a big three to end that streak, he and Olberding were the only ones generating points for JHHS in the first half, save for two points contributed by Westin Jacobsen.
Jackson Heights’ biggest issues came on the defensive, end, though, as the team had some breakdowns that allowed Maur Hill to score some easy points and while the Cobras’ signature press continued to cause turnovers, those did not translate into points in transition in the first half.
“It’s part of the beast with how we play. You shoot a lot of threes, you have stretches where you miss some,” Brown said. “Ideally, you just play better defense during those times, which is what we didn’t do. We let them hit some threes, let them get some garbage points.”
“We didn’t hit every shot in the second half, but we did so many of the little things well that it didn’t matter and that’s what we’ll look for moving forward,” Brown said. “Do all the little things extremely well and it doesn’t matter if you make or miss shots.”
Canyon Miller hit two of those threes late in the first half for Maur Hill, including one to beat the buzzer before halftime and give his team a 25-24 lead, but Brown said he wasn’t worried about that. The biggest problem was points from players on the wing cutting to the basket on the backside, something a more aggressive mentality inside helped the Cobras correct in the second half.
Strategically, Brown noted the team didn’t change much over the final two quarters. Effort and attitude were the two biggest contributors in the Cobras’ resurgence and the attention to detail from players like Braden Dohl and Auston Sauvage helped the team crack down on defense. Of course, time was on Heights’ side as well.
“They handled our press really well early and I didn’t panic because it’s a four quarter deal. We come into a game like this saying you’re going to have to deal with it for four quarters and we’re not worried about the first quarter. We want to see how you react to it in the third and fourth,” Brown said. “It’s just hard to deal with for four straight quarters.”
Richter and Olberding helped the Cobras get back on track with three consecutive three-pointers to start the third quarter and a 9-0 run later in the period helped put the Cobras ahead by double digits, 46-33. Jacobsen also stepped up and scored eight of his 10 points in the second half, though those three were the only JHHS players to score in the game.
“I’m very proud of Westin for stepping up and getting 10 there and it could’ve been 18 if he hits a couple of easy shots. Ideally, it’d be nice to have it a little more spread out, but at the end of the day we scored 61 and that’s going to be good enough to win a lot,” Brown said.
Eventually, Jackson Heights’ pressure wore Maur Hill down and led to some sloppy play in the fourth quarter as the Cobras continued to pull away for the win. It was a nice win early in the season for JHHS, especially since the teams shared the NEKL title last season, and should set up an intense rematch in 2016.
For now, Heights (2-0) will focus on getting ready for another home game as the team prepares to take on Pleasant Ridge (0-3) Tuesday, with games starting at 5 p.m.
Dec. 11, 2015
JH: Olberding 8 (6) 6-6 28, Richter 9 (5) 0-3 23, Jacobsen 4 2-2 10. Totals- 21 (11) 8-11 61.
MH: Ervin 5 5-5 15, Lykins 3 (1) 4-6 11, Miller 3 (2) 0-0 8, Banicwicz 1 (1) 0-0 3, Kocour 1 0-1 2, Faulk-Tindall 1 0-0 2, Olberding 0 1-2 1. Totals- 14 (4) 10-14 42.
Rebounding: JH- 17 (Richter 7, Olberding 3); MH- 28 (Olberding 6, Lykins 6, Ervin 5).
Assists: JH- 8 (Jacobsen 6); MH- 6.
Turnovers: JH- 6; MH- 23.