What could have been a breakout Suburban Middle Six Conference game for the Fort Osage Indians quickly turned into a disaster as Fort Osage fell behind 23-5 after the first quarter and took the brunt end of a 65-40 loss to the Blue Jays in the second annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suit and Sneakers game, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society for research.
The scene was set for a perfect night of basketball.
An energetic and packed courtwarming crowd jammed the gymnasium inside Fort Osage on Friday.
A community’s show of outreach and support for a special cause added an overflow of people to the gathering.
And an improving Raytown team brought with them a group of loyal followers that set the ambiance for a nice game of mid-winter high school hoops.
What could have been a breakout Suburban Middle Six Conference game for the Indians quickly turned into a disaster as Fort Osage fell behind 23-5 after the first quarter and took the brunt end of a 65-40 loss to the Blue Jays in the second annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suit and Sneakers game, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society for research.
The loss, the 14th of the year for the Indians, included what head coach Josh Wilson said has become his team’s Achilles’ heel – one bad quarter out of four.
“It’s seems like every game we’ve had a bad quarter,” Wilson said. “And we had the bad quarter right off the bat tonight. It kind of sucked the air right out of this place.
“We had a great crowd, a great atmosphere and we missed a couple of shots (early). When you do something right and run something right and you miss a couple of shots, that’s the hardest thing. Then it becomes a mental game and that affects your mental strength.”
The Indians showed some fortitude after the first eight minutes, actually going toe-to-toe with the Blue Jays over the next two quarters. Fort Osage equaled the 24 points the Blue Jays scored in the second and third quarters.
“If you don’t spot them 23-5,” Wilson mused, “that’s an 18-point game. It’s hard to come back from.”
As for the fundraising efforts, Wilson said he was proud of the Fort Osage community coming out and supporting a cause so dear to him. Wilson organized the game two seasons ago to bring added awareness to a disease that has claimed the life of three of his grandparents and one of his college basketball coaches.
“I haven’t had a chance to run through the totals or anything like that, but I think we probably doubled last year’s total (of $376),” Wilson said. “It was unbelievable. It was great to see the place crowded tonight. I can’t thank the community enough. They do a great job.”
Senior guard Alex Greer led Fort Osage with eight points. Greer said the Indians’ weakness reared its ugly head early on against the Blue Jays (10-8, 4-2 Middle Six).
“Pretty much what the whole season has been about – turnovers, not getting good shots, not getting back on defense – stuff like that,” Greer said of Friday’s first quarter. “We picked it up and got what we could and did the best we could do. We went out at least fighting.”
Senior post player Tylor Moore said the Indians as a team were disappointed that they didn’t put on a better show for the home crowd. Moore scored six points on the night.
“It’s hard for us right now,” Moore said. “We’re trying to get past a lot of stuff. We’re trying to become a better team and figure it all out.”
Blue Jays head coach Brandon Weis said his team did exactly what he wanted them to do against the Indians, who fell to 3-14 overall on the season and 1-4 in the Middle Six.
“We tried to establish an up-tempo game early,” Weis said. “We tried to put a lot of pressure on them. We were successful in doing that. We got a few turnovers and got the momentum going our way Our guys played together as a team really well and that’s something we’ve been putting an emphasis on.”