Broncos buck Wildcats from league lead
There's been no word of an unexpected change in the phases of the moon, but the tide has certainly changed with regard to the De Soto boys basketball team.
The squad, winners of seven of nine between Dec. 18 and Jan. 25, lost its second consecutive game Friday, falling at Spring Hill by the largest margin since the season's second game, 68-47.
"I don't know what happened," De Soto coach Jim Bonar said. "We didn't overlook them - I can't explain it."
De Soto pounded its way to a commanding third-place finish in last month's Tonganoxie Invitational - it was one buzzer-beating layup from playing for the championship. Now the Cats are looking for answers. The faster they find them, the more options remain open for the squad.
It was shooting and rebounding consistency that doomed De Soto Friday, Bonar said.
The Cats hung step-for-step with the Broncos through the first quarter, but were outscored 20-5 in the second.
De Soto couldn't buy a basket in that treacherous eight-minute stretch, Bonar said. The team ended the night 0-of-17 from beyond the three-point line, easily its worst mark of the year.
"It was 16-16 at the end of the first quarter and we had not played well and not hit shots, so we felt pretty good," Bonar said. "Then the bottom fell out.
"We started relying on three-point shooting, but it was the first game in my career as a coach in which we did not hit a three."
The Cats only exacerbated their shooting woes with an inability to clean up the misses. De Soto's leading rebounder, junior Jamell Townsend, got in early foul trouble and the team was never able to carve out a presence on the boards.
Spring Hill, meanwhile, finished with five three-point makes.
"(The shooting) really affected the rest of our game," Bonar said. "We started making passes we shouldn't, then we started just standing around on offense. We also stopped rebounding, then we stopped playing defense all-together."
De Soto played better in the second half - it was outscored in the third quarter 18-12, but played the fourth even, both teams scoring 14.
It didn't even come close to bridging the Broncos' tremendous lead.
Senior Andre Linzy finished the game with 11 points. Townsend had 10 and Erik Hill added six. Senior Nick Cardiff, in what Bonar described as one of the night's few highlights, also contributed six points.
"Nick had a very good game," Bonar said. "He had six points and a couple rebounds. When Jamell got in foul trouble, Nick came in and did an excellent job."
Friday's loss, which came on the heels of a 65-57 Jan. 29 loss at Louisburg, doesn't crush the team's league-championship aspirations. Rather, Spring Hill is the only team to have so far beaten De Soto in a qualifying Frontier League game. De Soto has two games each scheduled against Louisburg, Gardner and Eudora, only Friday games counting toward league standings.
The Cats are currently 3-1 in the league.
The team's next chance to get the tides shifting in its favor comes Friday when the Cats battle Ottawa. It's far from an easy task - the Cyclones are 12-2 and beat both Louisburg and Spring Hill by double digits.
"We're not out of it, but we made our job a lot tougher," Bonar said.