Bonar takes blame for Anderson County loss
De Soto basketball coach Jim Bonar said his team executed the game plan, found clean shots and played his defense perfectly.
Still, the Wildcats lost Tuesday to Anderson County, 55-48, knocking De Soto from the top tier of Frontier League title contenders.
"I'm taking this whole loss myself," Bonar said. "They did everything I wanted them to do and we didn't win. It was my fault."
Anderson County's Grant Suderman and Josh Sutton were primarily responsible for issuing Bonar and the Wildcats a surprise.
Suderman hit four 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 15 points and Sutton found 11 points playing inside where the Cats thought they could contain the 6-foot-6 junior forward.
"I didn't think he could shoot over us," Bonar said. "So we tried playing behind him and he destroyed us and it's my fault."
Faulty strategy or not, there were a number of reasons De Soto suffered its first setback in four games.
Anderson County (6-9) was hot from the start and had a five-point lead by the end of the first quarter and despite eventually taking the lead in the third quarter, the Cats never seemed to fully bounce back from the slow start.
De Soto (8-7) hung close throughout the second as Jake Morse and Andre Linzy battled to stay in it. Morse poured in eight first-half points and Linzy hit a key 3-pointer late in the second quarter.
The Cats hit three 3-pointers in the first half and despite trailing, were having little trouble finding open shots.
That changed in the second. While the Cats got their first lead of the game, 30-29, less than a minute into the third quarter and the quarter came to a close with De Soto still just on top, 39-38, De Soto wasn't able to consistently find and knock down open baskets in the period.
"I ran a couple plays in the first half that gave us really clean open looks, then in the second half I fell asleep at the wheel and we didn't get as many open looks," Bonar said.
De Soto also missed on chances to either cut into the Bulldog lead or pad the Cats second-half advantages from the free-throw line. De Soto finished 12-of-23 from the stripe and saw key points clang off the rim late in the game.
Anderson County hit on its last seven free throw opportunities and scored from the line 11 times in the fourth quarter alone. Add in a pair of 3-pointers and it was enough for the Dogs to overcome De Soto's one-point advantage heading into the quarter and walk away with the win.
"I was trying to manipulate too much, over-coach," he said. "I was trying to coach each possession rather than let the guys play like I had and I don't know why I changed."
Scott McElvain led De Soto with 14 points and Taylor Burnett had nine.
The game was a letdown after De Soto kept its short winning streak alive on Friday, beating Paola 44-37. McElvain again led, scoring 20, as Linzy added 11.
"We knocked down shots and did some really good things," Bonar said. "Every possession counted and we knocked down some really tough shots and rebounded the ball really well."