To cruise past Olathe (Kan.) Heritage Christian Academy 67-31 Friday night, Van Horn had to get a touch of selfishness out of its system.
During the first quarter of the Crossroads Conference meeting, the Falcons weren’t sharing the ball on offense. As a result, Van Horn’s lead was just four – 15-11.
But between quarters, the Falcons discussed several problems they needed to correct – one of them being “that we were playing selfish basketball,” Van Horn boys coach Daniel Bieser said. The Falcons responded by outscoring the Chargers 52-20 the final three quarters for a home victory.
“When we play team basketball, we get wins,” said junior guard Isaiah Gotsis, who paced Van Horn with 22 points.
At times this season, the Falcons have lost their way and played “selfish basketball” for a quarter or so, said senior guard Anthony Winningham, who contributed 21 points.
“But then, we pull it back together – and then, that’s when we take the lead,” Winningham said.
But there was more to the win than unselfish play, the players and coach suggested. Defensive adjustments also were key, Bieser said. The Falcons knew Heritage Christian senior Jack Feighner liked to drive to the basket, Bieser said. Feighner got “a step on us” during the first quarter, forcing the Falcons “to hip-check him on the way to the rim,” he said.
In hip-checking Feighner, they also fouled him. He capitalized by scoring seven of his team-leading eight points during the first quarter – five of them off of foul shots.
“Second quarter and through the second half, we did a much better job of stepping back, instead of stepping laterally and getting that hip out of him,” Bieser said. “We did a better job on ball, and our outside rotation was a lot better in the second half than it was in the first.”
With Friday’s win, the Falcons improved to 8-11 overall and finished league play at 4-2. They’ll play St. Joseph Lafayette, Oak Grove and Odessa to finish the regular season and prepare themselves for the postseason. The key for the Falcons to get through the postseason is for them to “not be nervous,” Winningham said.
“Last year (against Kansas City East), I felt like we were nervous – and we got beat by a team we shouldn’t have gotten beat by,” he said. “But this year, as the leader of the team, I feel like I can lead us there and help us (to) not be nervous and be ready come districts.”
Bieser believes the Falcons will “be a little bit better with the nervousness” this postseason.
“We’ve really played a pretty tough schedule coming through, which the athletic director (Chris Corrie) and I wanted us to,” he said. “So, hopefully, it’ll get (us) ready for districts, because we’re going to see those types of teams.”
Page 2 of 2 - Girls
HERITAGE CHRISTIAN 64, VAN HORN 60: Visiting Olathe (Kan.) Heritage Christian scored four points in the closing 22 seconds to snap a 60-60 tie and hand Van Horn a tough Crossroads Conference loss Friday.
“We turned over the ball six times in the final three minutes,” Van Horn girls coach Scorpio Horn said.
Malaea Ortiz scored 18 points and Hannah Bishop contributed 14 to pace Van Horn (5-14, 0-6).