Comeback gives De Soto first victory of the year
Defense, shooting key in turnaround
When De Soto boys basketball coach Jason Generally found his team trailing Ottawa 32-24 at halftime Friday, he made possibly his best halftime adjustment by simply not making one.
That decision alone may have made the difference in a 57-48 Frontier League win over the Cyclones. The triumph snapped a five-game losing skid and put the Wildcats in the win column for the first time this season.
Although the Wildcats were getting beat on the boards 27-17 in the first half and were out-shot 39 percent to 30 percent during that same time span, Generally thought enough of his team's performance to leave well enough alone.
"We felt like we were playing well in the first half, too," Generally said. "And we pretty much did the same things in the second half, except that we started to make shots."
The Wildcats rallied in the second half by outscoring the hosts 33-16 after connecting on 12 of 19 (63.2 percent) field goals and out-rebounding the Cyclones 18-14. De Soto's shooting was 20-of-46 (44.3 percent), while limiting Ottawa to 18-of-56 (32.1 percent) shooting. But the Cyclones out-boarded the Wildcats 41-35 for the game.
The second half warm-up allowed De Soto to make enough runs to pull closer after three periods. They eventually overcame the Cyclones for the nine-point win in the fourth.
Ottawa sophomore Victor Ojeleye started the second half by sandwiching a short jumper and a layup around Danny Brown's jumper to give the Cyclones their biggest lead at 36-26 with just over seven minutes left in the third period.
Brown hit a 3-pointer 12 seconds later, and Brady Seaman added a jumper as the Wildcats cut the deficit to 36-31 with 6 minutes 19 seconds left in the third period.
Following an Ojeleye free throw, Hunter Noe spun to his right to free himself for a fall-away jumper. Seaman hit a pull-up jumper and added the ensuing free throw 30 seconds later, pulling the Wildcats to within one, 37-36, with 5:21 left in the period.
Brown made the first of two freethrows with 3:24 left, knotting the score at 37. Taylor Burnett evened the score for the second time in 33 seconds when he pulled down an offensive rebound and laid the ball back in. Ottawa managed a 44-43 advantage at the end of three periods.
Noe gave De Soto the lead for good 15 seconds into the final period when he banked in a jumper and 43 seconds later stretched the advantage to 47-44 when he sliced through the Cyclone defense for a layup.
Brown, Brett Maasen and Colby Childers followed with scores as the Wildcats scored the first five field goals of the final 8 minutes. Burnett added a free throw with 4:17 left in the game, giving De Soto a 54-44 advantage.
Matt Leecy connected on Ottawa's first jumper of the period with 2:03 left to cut the deficit to 54-46. The basket was the first scored by the Cyclones in an eight-minute stretch that covered portions of the third and fourth periods.
"Our zone helped us a lot," De Soto senior Noe said. "We mixed it up some and trapped some out of the zone."
Noe said he looked up at the scoreboard with the Wildcats holding a 10-point lead, realizing there was still four minutes left.
"That's still a lot of time left," he recalled. "But when the Cyclones started fouling, I knew we were going to win."
Ottawa took a 14-11 lead after the first period when six Ottawa players scored during the stretch.
Brown scored seven of his game-high 17 points in the second period. The 6-foot-4-inch senior brought the Wildcats back from a five-point deficit in the quarter when he hit a 3-pointer with about 5 minutes left in the half, and then added a pair of free throws 26 seconds later. The Cyclones went on a 12-4 tear over the last half of the period to earn the 32-24 advantage at intermission.
Noe added 16 points to the cause for De Soto. Burnett and Seaman added eight points apiece.
Leecy and Ojeleye scored 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the Cyclones. Blakesley and Aaron Douglas chipped in with nine and seven points.