Reply To: PLT Final – HC

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The hour and a half drive home didn’t take the sting out of that loss. Just a huge opportunity wasted. I wanted to see TK take us on 2 trips to NCAA in his 4 years, and now he may get 1 appearance. Once in a generation big man and little to show for it.
This was a monumental choke tonight. You have the 9 seed, and a bad team, on your home floor and you are a 10.5 point favorite (offshore) and you come out and just lay a huge egg in the first half. 14 points and just dismal execution. I’ve literally seen middle school teams attack 1-3-1 better than that.
A lot of blame to go around. You have to lay a lot at the feet of the coach and some on the players. Reed didn’t have them prepared to attack the zone. And, I thought he was late in making adjustments to it. We pretty much threw a shutout with zone in the second half of the second HC game. I would have opened the game in it. Instead, we opened in man and were late shifting to zone (late first, when HC already up 10+). Then I thought BR got out of zone too early, and HC picked man apart in late 6 minutes. He was also late adjusting our offense to the 1-3-1. Took him over 20 minutes of game action to start screening the top of their zone. When we screened their top with JC and middle with TK, we put up 40+ in the second half. Carmody got the better of BR and HC kept tempo to a snail’s pace.
Also need to put a lot of blame on the players. Don’t think they overlooked HC, but they came out super tight. And, you can’t let a bad team hang around and get confident. Our 4 out players, everybody other than TK, did a really poor job on the offensive end. I don’t care what zone it is, you will never beat it by holding the ball and not moving it. You need to attack and probe with dribble penetration and we did none of that in first half. HC wanted us to throw those loopy passes over the top, and we did. Gave them a ton of time to adjust. We played very slow and deliberate and just not aggressive. TK was great in the lane and HC had no answer for him, but not enough penetration to draw and dish until late. On defensive end, we were pretty solid. But, TK did a poor job of contesting the 3 and we really paid for that. Carmody was smart to bring TK away from the basket, and he struggles with his quickness guarding on the perimeter. TK had a good offensive game, but he lost his matchup on the night. Was out scored by his man and gave over double his man’s average. That is not a matchup we can ever lose.
Other thought on player blame, we just missed a ton of open looks. Uncontested jumpers that needed to be knocked down. AP shot it poorly, KL was up and down, and JC was gun shy on a lot of looks. KR shot when had look, but missed a couple biggies. Shooters have to make shots and we couldn’t knock the critical ones down. I was also befuddled why JRG got so many minutes. He was on the court too much for me, and he wasn’t going to knock down any key shots.
The crowd and students were great and looking to blow the top off the building, but could just never get to a frenzy. Every time we made a run and crowd got up looking for a key stop, we gave up a FG. We almost blew it up when we pulled to 1 at 55-54, but again couldn’t get a stop. We never led, which is telling. But, it was fun to be in a crowd like that in Stabler.
Thanks for letting me get some things out there. Enjoyed the Board this season and the interplay all season. This one will sting until they get at it next year.