Turnovers cost Cats in 71-44 loss to SJA in sub-state
De Soto basketball coach Jim Bonar simply couldn’t find the words Tuesday after his Wildcats’ 71-44 loss to St. James Academy in the opening game of sub-state.
“I told the guys in the locker room that I didn’t have anything planned to say to the seniors tonight because I just didn’t think we would lose that game,” Bonar said. “We played good in the first half, and then we made a couple key turnovers to open the third quarter and got us into a hole.”
In fact, if someone had told Bonar after the first quarter that the Wildcats would lose by 27, they probably would have received some confused expressions.
De Soto played stellar in the first eight minutes in front of a packed house, including a full Wildcat student section. Mason Wedel and Daniel Peterson drained deep three-pointers en route to a comfortable 21-14 lead going into the second quarter.
The Thunder would begin battling back, however, as Mike Huppe scored seven of his 16 points to bring St. James Academy within two at halftime, 30-28.
Still, with a two-point lead, the Wildcats looked poised to upend the No. 3 seed Thunder.
Cue the most disappointing third quarter of the season for De Soto.
The Wildcats started the second half with five turnovers in the first three minutes and St. James tallied six points off layups. A three from the corner by River Scott gave the Thunder a 45-35 lead, and the home team would only increase the lead from there.
“We dug ourselves a hole early in the third quarter, and the hole just kept getting deeper,” Bonar said. “Teams like St. James will kill you if you turn the ball over like that. Then we had to start scrambling and we got out of our offense, and it’s hard to make up points when you’re doing that.”
With all the momentum, the Thunder jumped out to a 12-0 run to begin the fourth quarter before senior Dylan Burford broke the scoreless drought for the Wildcats with a couple of free throws.
Later the Wildcats earned their seventh foul, putting St. James in the bonus, with more than five minutes remaining in the quarter, and the Thunder were able to extend their lead to more than 20.
Bonar spoke highly of his senior group after their final game.
“I wish we could have taken this group a little further,” he said. “They’re just a great group of young men. They’ll be missed.”
De Soto finished the year at 10-11. The Wildcats also will graduate several key players, including Burford, Peterson, Brandon Philbrook, Paul Stallbaumer and Nick Umholtz.