Holton teams battle, pull out road wins at Riverside
As Holton coach Ryan Noel put it, there were several reasons the boys basketball team could have packed it in and turned in a sub-par performance in their last game before the Christmas break at Riverside last Friday.
It may have looked like the Wildcats were heading that way early after falling behind 11-2, but the team roared back to life on the way to a 56-44 victory.
Riverside pounded the ball inside early, which was a big factor in the Cyclones opening up a 13-9 lead in the first quarter. In response, Noel said he wanted to use man pressure to speed up Riverside’s guards and create some turnovers, but he credited his assistant coaches (Don Brees and Matt Hundley) for talking him into the zone defense, which served Holton well in the second quarter.
“That’s kind of the difference there in the second quarter and what got us back into the game. We were able to steal a few possessions definitely in the second quarter and get them into some looks that maybe they didn’t like,” Noel said.
In addition to strong defense, Wildcat Trey Tanking got hot on offense in the second quarter, scoring 16 of his game-high 25 points and almost single-handedly willing Holton back into the game.
Holton’s strong second half was the difference though and it started with some more defensive pressure that was influenced by the assistant coaches as they pushed the full court pressure look, which led to several empty possessions for Riverside early while Holton stretched a one-point lead into a 12-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
“That really kind of set the tone in the third quarter and allowed us to push the pace a little bit,” Noel said. “We got some baskets in transition, which really kind of helped, not to put the game away at that point, but it almost started to put it out of reach.”
While Tanking had the big offensive night, there were a lot of contributions by committee that helped Holton pick up the win as well, whether it was what Noel called one of the best rebounding efforts of the year by the posts or the production of all three players (Parker Sides, Bryson Patch and Will Wright) who filled in at small forward on Friday.
Noel noted the team also showed a great amount of persistence to overcome a poor start and block out the distractions of the week (finals, snow day, etc.) on the way to the win, which was another step forward in the team’s improvement.
“I think we’re starting to get there. With the break right now maybe some of the progress that you made gets stalled a little bit, but I think the kids are motivated and we can continue to improve,” Noel said. “The kids also know that we haven’t reached our ceiling as a basketball team and we can continue to improve.”
“We were pleased with the victory and very happy for the kids in the way in which it happened. They earned it, but most importantly I think we all know we’re not there yet and we’ll continue to work hard to get there,” Noel added.
After the break, Holton (3-2) will return to competition against Jeff West at home on Tuesday, Jan. 6.
Dec. 19, 2014
HHS: Tanking 10 (3) 2-2 25, Beecher 4 (1) 3-5 12, Patch 2 3-3 7, Sides 2 (2) 0-0 6, Allen 2 0-0 4, Bergsten 1 0-0 2. Totals- 21 (6) 8-11 56.
Riv.: Shue 7 2-3 16, Keller 3 (1) 1-1 8, Miller 4 0-0 8, Byrd 1 (1) 0-0 3, Holland 1 0-0 2, Rupe 1 0-2 2, LaRue 1 0-0 2, Crespo 1 0-0 2, McGaughy 0 1-2 1. Totals- 19 (2) 4-8 44.
Analyzing the patterns of the team’s two losses in the first stretch of the season, there was a definite formula HHS girls basketball coach Jon Holliday wanted his team to follow in Friday’s final game at Riverside before the Christmas break.
“Looking back at our two losses, we weren’t ready to play early and didn’t get out of the chutes good early so we had to focus on that and get off to a better start, play fast and play from ahead instead of trying to play catch-up,” Holliday said.
The Lady Wildcats followed that formula to a tee against the Cyclones on the way to a 58-16 victory on Friday night.
Holton utilized three different pressure defenses in the first half and had Riverside out of sorts early, building up a 34-9 lead by halftime. More important than the strong defense, according to Holliday, was the fact that it finally led to some easy points on offense to fuel the Wildcats on that end.
It wasn’t too easy early on, though, as the teams were playing with a high school boys’ regulation basketball that wasn’t switched out until a quarter and a half into the game. While that helped some, Holliday noted the Wildcats winning the battle on the boards may have been even more important.
“We got a lot of rebounds and a lot of second chance points compared to their defensive rebounds and that’s always a plus when you can out-rebound them on the offensive end to their defensive end,” Holliday said.
Five players scored at least six points in the game on Friday for Holton and the Wildcats set the tone early in a game that was essentially over at halftime, with Holliday noting it was a good springboard for the Wildcats heading into the break.
“Hopefully they learned that they’re capable of being a dominant team and controlling a game in all aspects. That’s hopefully a confidence builder,” Holliday said of the win.
The Wildcats (3-2) will now be off until 2015 when they will open the second half against Jeff West at home on Tuesday, Jan. 6.
Dec. 19, 2014
HHS: A. Weilert 5 (1) 0-0 11, Thompson 4 1-1 9, Tanking 2 5-7 9, Degenhardt 3 1-2 7, Moore 2 2-2 6, T. Weilert 2 0-0 4, Snepp 1 2-2 4, Boswell 2 0-0 4, Holaday 2 0-0 4. Totals- 23 (1) 11-15 58.
Riv.: Meers 2 2-3 6, Butts 2 0-4 4, Gray 2 0-0 4, Shue 1 0-0 2. Totals- 7 2-8 16.