Boys notch another victory
The press that often bothered the De Soto boys basketball team early in the season was turned into a strength Friday night. The Wildcats got easy buckets early and often by burning Anderson County's full court pressure.
The Wildcats coasted to a 76-45 victory to improve to 3-4 on the season.
"We've been watching film and talking about where we should be and timing, passing and decision making," coach Jim Bonar said. "Hopefully that sunk into their heads and they went out with the actual idea of punishing the press instead of just breaking it."
Senior Andre Linzy led all scorers with 22 points, while junior Jamell Townsend added 13 points in the 31-point victory.
De Soto dominated the first three quarters, starting the game with an 18-2 run sparked by 11 of Linzy's points and four rebounds, two blocks and two steals by Townsend. The first quarter ended with De Soto ahead 20-4.
Anderson County used a full court man-to-man press into a half-court trap in the first quarter, which often made for uncontested layups by the Wildcats.
"We came out and controlled the game from the tip, put our foot on the throttle and never let up," Bonar said. "We played an excellent half-court defense."
De Soto mixed its defense up throughout the night, alternating between a full court zone press and half court man-to-man and zone.
To begin the second quarter, Anderson County realized the press wasn't serving it well and switched to a half court defense, but it wouldn't get Dogs back in the game. With four minutes, 30 seconds to play in the second, Anderson County went on a six-point run of its own which cut the Wildcat lead to 12, but that's as close as the Bulldogs would come.
By halftime De Soto led 30-17.
To open the second half Linzy came right out and drilled back-to-back three pointers and the lead continued to grow. The score was 40-18 with 5:30 to play in the third when Anderson County called a timeout and switched to a zone press, which had the same result as earlier in the game.
Linzy scored 10 points in the quarter, and senior Erik Hill had four rebounds.
By the end of the third quarter De Soto led 59-27 and its younger players were beginning to trickle in and get some mop-up minutes.
"About the time we hit 30 we throttled back a little bit on the defensive end," Bonar said. "We tried to keep rebounding, we only wanted to give up one shot per possession, but we weren't out for blood at that point."
It would be pretty even in the fourth, as De Soto scored 17 points to Anderson County's 18.
Linzy, who is attracting attention from such community colleges as Independence, Butler and Coffeyville, connected four times from beyond the 3-point arc.
"We need to get our shooters that haven't been shooting well back on and just maintain," Bonar said. "We haven't shot the ball at a high percentage from the outside. We've had several kids get a little bit streaky, but we need to be hitting like we were last year."
After a long layoff the Wildcats will be back in action with a Jan. 4 meeting at Paola.
"They're down a little bit from last year," Bonar said, "but it's a good way to start the Frontier League. They're always very scrappy and well-coached."
With another road contest, the Wildcats have the chance to get on a roll and put three road wins together and even their record at 4-4.