Whether it was on the court in the second half Tuesday or by simply looking at the roster, you can tell the potential of the William Chrisman boys basketball team.
Fielding a roster dominated by sophomores and juniors, good things await the Bears at some point in the future.
But early in the season, Chrisman and first-year head coach Jake Kates may experience some growing pains.
That certainly happened in their season opener at home against Park Hill South, when the Bears fell behind 13-4 in the game’s first four minutes and never recovered during a 78-46 loss.
“Tonight was frustrating,” Kates said. “We’re young, but really my only disappointment was the way we came out and didn’t compete in the first half. In the second half, we came out and played hard. Our guys answered the bell in the second half and we’ll learn some lessons from it, move forward and get better in practice.”
The Panthers (1-0) aren’t an ideal opponent to open the season with for anyone, let alone a new coach with a young roster.
South returns multiple starters from last year’s 18-6 team and is ranked by one poll as the fifth-best team in the city, regardless of the state line.
“They obviously have some veteran guard play,” Kates said. “(Juniors Desi Williams and Lamel Robinson) have played varsity since they were freshmen. And when you’re ranked that high, you’re obviously pretty good.”
After Williams, Robinson and Saadique Perkins spurred the Panthers to a 44-19 halftime lead, Chrisman (0-1) showed what it can be during the third quarter by playing the Panthers within one during the frame thanks to an intensity on both ends of the floor and Daniel Carson tallying seven of his team-high 11 points.
“We definitely came out slow to start the game,” Bears guard Kelvyn Mason said. “We know we did. But in the second half we came out faster and played hard.”
Mason hit two second-half 3-pointers on the way to eight points, while forward Bryan Cox added six points and made several hustle rebounds in notable performances for Chrisman.
Both players said they’re glad the season has finally started.
“It’s good to get the first-game jitters out of the way,” Cox said. “We just have to stay positive and stick together.”
Added Mason: “It’s nice to be on the court. With the team we have, we think we can come out and do some things this year. We just have to get a little more practice in and get a little more together.”
Robinson finished with 19 points and Perkins tallied 17 to pace Park Hill South.
Kates said the team will take the positives from the second half and build on them before its next game Tuesday at St. Joseph Central.
“We didn’t look good, but we were playing hard in the second half,” he said. “And that’s the biggest step with this team. Our offense will get better as the season goes on. I started three sophomores tonight. (The offense) may be ugly for a while, but defensively is where we’re going to have to hang our hat, especially in November and December. I thought we did that in the third quarter and when we were playing against their starters, we held our own.”