In the litany of things that went wrong for Fort Osage Tuesday night, one stood out for coach Josh Wilson.
Three technical fouls.
None of them were particularly egregious, but collectively they illustrated the frustration North Kansas City created in routing the Indians 83-59 in a Suburban Middle Seven boys basketball game at Fort Osage. Northtown punished Fort Osage with its quickness and athleticism, and the Indians frequently struggled to keep their composure.
“I’m beyond disappointed,” Wilson said. “They had to run extra in practice (Monday) for the same kind of thing. When it gets tough, we have a hard time composing ourselves. A lot of them are emotional guys just trying to play through that, which we have trouble doing.”
The trouble started early and never stopped for Fort Osage (3-5, 1-1 Middle Seven). The Indians came out tentative against Northtown’s zone defense and found themselves down 22-7 before the end of the first quarter. The Hornets (7-3, 2-2) forced 26 turnovers, found quick baskets and buried wide-open three-point shots. Northtown shot a blistering 9 of 15 from 3-point range; Fort Osage was 4 of 15.
Fort Osage rallied back to 32-23 late in the second quarter, but two quick threes from the Hornets put the Indians in a double-digit deficit for good.
“We were just playing scared,” Fort Osage senior Xavier Kahube said. “We didn’t want to attack for real … it is what it is.”
Kahube was one of the few bright spots for the Indians. Hobbled by injuries since the season opener, the 6-foot-6 forward saw his most minutes on the court and led the Indians with 15 points. Most of his points came on putbacks as he gave the Indians a solid presence under the basket along with 6-4 Triston Turner, who finished with 13.
“They’ve played together for a long time, but they really haven’t played together for a year,” Wilson said. “Triston has also been banged up and trying to get them back in the rhythm of playing together is something we need to focus on.”
Kahube and Turner weren’t enough to combat Northtown’s second half onslaught. D’Anthony Pennington, who led the Hornets with 25 points, scored 17 of them in the third quarter with two threes and a couple of slams. Northtown widened its 39-25 lead to 66-38 by the end of the third quarter and led by as many as 30 in the fourth.
“We came in expecting it, but it’s hard to replicate what they’re able to do as far as the frustration factor of taking away everything,” Wilson said. “They’re very athletic and they can do that.”
Same could be said for Raytown, where Fort Osage plays its next game on Friday. Between now and then, Wilson will have the Indians working on keeping their cool.
”We’re in the gauntlet of conference now,” Wilson said. “It doesn’t stop.”