West Holmes Boys Basketball

Lack of possessions leads to Knights’ 47-37 loss to Yellow Jackets

Brayden Chaney on the move

In any basketball, the only numbers that really matter are the ones on the scoreboard at the end of the game.

In the case of West Holmes’ contest with visiting Mt. Vernon Friday, January 27, it was Yellow Jackets 47, West Holmes 37.

However, there was one glaring statistic that Knights head coach Keith Troyer pointed out that could have easily eliminated that 10-point deficit. Mt. Vernon took 51 shots on the night compared to 39 for West Holmes. With free throws attempts being almost identical, that meant a dozen more scoring opportunities for the Yellow Jackets.

“That is 12 empty possessions, and those are killers because it eliminates any opportunity to score,” Troyer said. “In a close game like this, those opportunities are crucial.”

Mt. Vernon head coach Nick Coon said the coaching staff talked to their players about the importance of giving a great effort for a conference game on the road.

“We talked at length with our kids about how any game on the road is not easy, especially in our league,’ Coon said. Noting West Holmes’ one-win record, he said he knew the Knights would give his 7-9 club a challenge. “Give West Holmes credit, those kids fought and competed really hard and made everything tough on us. We could never quite pull away, especially in the second half when I felt we had opportunities. Every time we started to create space they would come back and make a play or force a turnover.”

“They played well defensively, but we had too many lazy, unforced turnovers,” Troyer said.

The other thing that haunted West Holmes was that it was not able to take advantage of a smaller Yellow Jackets team in the paint. West Holmes simply failed to produce inside, when opportunities arose.

“We struggled to produce in the paint, and that allowed them to really push us out high out front,” Troyer said.

West Holmes got out to a decent start, taking a 8-7 lead on the strength of three points from Chase Wells and Chance Wells. However, Mt. Vernon came back to knot things up at 14, then took an 18-14 lead into the locker room with scores from Collin Barteau and Kaden Daniels.

Coon said that with his team on the small side, they rely heavily on forcing teams to rush on the perimeter, hoping to turn their pressure into points on the other end.

Coon said the first half was a great defensive effort, with his team allowing just 14 points, but he wanted to see his team perform with more energy on the offensive side of the floor.

“I was very pleased with our defensive effort tonight, but it is kind of rare when a coach has to get on the kids to give a better effort on offense,” Coon said. “I thought we were getting lazy, we were cutting hard, we weren’t screening hard and we weren’t moving the ball very crisply. We cleaned that up in the second half, and we were able to move the ball better in the second half, which opened some things up for us inside for some good looks.”

The third quarter became a tipping point in the Yellow Jackets’ favor, as Mt. Vernon came out with more energy, grabbed a number of offensive rebounds, scored at will inside and took advantage of a series of Knights turnovers.

Barteau hit a 3-pointer, and after Chase Wells hit on a drive, Jeffrey Rucker and Barteau scored to make it 25-16. Chance Wells then hit two 3-pointers to keep West Holmes close at 27-22, but Daniels scored inside on four consecutive trips down the floor as West Holmes committed three turnovers in that span.

Trailing 35-22, Trenton Bridenthal scored inside to end the quarter with the Knights trailing 35-24. With the score at 37-24, West Holmes really picked up its defensive intensity, and began clawing its way back. Chase Wells hit two free throws, West Holmes got a stop and Blaine Hager canned a trey. After Jacob Tiell scored inside, Chase Wells drove for two to trim the deficit to 39-31. Tyler Bills then scored, but Hager connected from downtown again to make it 43-34. Daniels then hit two free throws and Brayden Chaney drove the paint for an and-one to get the Knights within 43-37, but time simply ran out on the Knights, who were forced to foul. Mt. Vernon made all four of its free throws to put the game away.

Troyer said the end-game effort was great, but he noted that 37 points simply isn’t going to win a lot of ball games.

“We have to produce more, and that means giving ourselves as many opportunities to score as possible,” Troyer said. “Which means limiting our turnovers and taking better care of the ball.”

Daniels and Barteau each netted 12 points to pace the Yellow Jackets, while the Knights got another solid effort from Chance Wells, who knocked down four 3-pointers en route to a game-high 14 points. Chase Wells added seven, Hager scored six and Chaney tacked on five points for the Knights.

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