Bears fizzle after fast start
After a promising first quarter, that was punctuated by a Dayne Herl 3-pointer at the buzzer, the William Chrisman boys basketball team learned it has much work to do this season.
St. Joseph Lafayette used a strong second period en route to a 77-54 victory in the opening game of the Phog Allen Invitational Monday night at Chrisman.
Trailing just 16-14 after the opening eight minutes the Bears watched the Fighting Irish run off the first seven points of the quarter as they took a commanding 37-23 lead into halftime.
“After tonight I really feel the need for us to come together as a team and to play four quarters of basketball, not just one or two like we did tonight,” said senior Alex Atagi, a senior center who scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
“We had so much intensity when we came out, then they got on that run and we started doing our own thing and forgot about the team aspect that made the first quarter so competitive.
“It’s a disappointing way to start the season, but we’re so young, and when you start in a tournament you can work on some things so you will be more prepared and ready when the conference season starts.”
Assistant coach Jacob Derritt – who was in charge of the Bears because head coach Jake Kates received two technicals in the final game of 2019-20 season and had to sit out the opener this season – knows exactly what this young Bears team needs to do.
“Right now, we’re laying our foundation, and we are going to continue to build on that foundation as the season goes on,” Derritt said. “We came out strong, then we faced some adversity in the second quarter and we didn’t know how to handle it. And we lost our poise, and that led to losing the game.
“We’re so young, but that’s no excuse. This team is going to be a work in progress. And after tonight, we know exactly what we have to work on.”
The Irish used a strong inside/outside game with guard Mikey Thomas hitting two 3-pointers along with going 11 of 12 from the free throw line to lead all scorers with 18 points. While he took care of the outside game, reserve forward Camden Bennett came off the bench to dominate in the paint, scoring 16 frome close range.
“They had the outside shooters and the good inside game and we just didn’t get it done defensively tonight,” Atagi added. “And that’s disappointing because we work so much on defense.”
The Bears lost eight seniors off last year’s team that won the Phog Allen Invitational with a classic overtime win over Truman on a last second shot by Isaiah Jackson.
But no one at Chrisman is ready to push the panic button.
“This is Coach Kates’ 20th year and my 12th year and we’ve worked with young teams like this before, so we know what to do to help them get better as the season goes on,” Derritt said. “They’re young, and we’re going to work with them and watch them grow up and have a lot of success.”
Herl, a junior guard, finished with 14 points to lead the Bears.