The good vibes created by its win last Friday at Fort Osage didn’t carry past Christmas into Liberty for the William Chrisman boys basketball team.
Lacking the offensive cohesiveness to stay with a talented Lincoln Prep squad, the Bears fell 71-47 Thursday in the first round of Nelson Division play at the Niles Media Group William Jewell Holiday Classic.
The Bears (2-3) shot 13 of 41 from the field, including 2 of 14 from the 3-point arc and committed 24 turnovers against the Tigers’ sticky defense. They will play Harrisonville in the consolation bracket at 1:30 p.m. today.
“We’re just not playing team basketball,” first-year Chrisman coach Chad Wright said. “We’re trying to do too much individually. We’ve got to take care of the ball, and we’ve got to look inside.”
Lincoln Prep, which improved to 10-0 and will play Park Hill South in the semifinals, led 15-9 at the first stop, bolstered by Jonathan Reese’s seven points.
Despite their woes, the Bears trailed just 27-22 on Brett Pendergist’s driving basket with a couple minutes left in the second quarter. But the Tigers closed the half with a 9-1 push, and a 9-2 spurt to start the third quarter put them up 45-25.
Chrisman worked the deficit down to 52-39 by quarter’s end but couldn’t get any closer.
“Our defensive pressure, it wasn’t like we took them out of anything,” Lincoln Prep coach Sam Pearson said. “They’re shots just stopped falling, and that opened some things up. We started to get out in transition and get some easy baskets.”
The Tigers committed 16 turnovers and shot 27 of 53. Micah Smith tallied 18 points to lead Lincoln Prep, while Reese recorded 15 points and nine rebounds. Asim Brown pitched in 10 points off the bench, and Justin Dixson snared eight rebounds.
Chris Horn made all but one of his 10 free throws and finished with 12 points and three steals to lead Chrisman. Pendergist added 10 points and Alex Ball nine, but effort and execution are too spotty for Wright’s liking.
“We’re not doing things to get open offensively; we can’t carry practice over to games,” Wright said. “It’s OK in practice, but we’ve got some guys that just haven’t bought in yet to what we’re trying to do.”