Prep boys basketball: Smith-Cotton goes ice-cold in loss to Saints
It was the greatest sense of urgency the Tigers had shown at all night, and it was just a meaningless basket in a 47-26 blowout.
After 31 minutes and 52 seconds of lackluster play, reserve guard David Desmond stole the ball at midcourt, split a couple of St. Thomas Aquinas defenders and made a contested layup.
The points in junk time were one of the lone highlights in a game marred by airballs and bricks from Smith-Cotton (1-2), which shot a paltry 29 percent from the floor, made just 2 of 19 shots from beyond the arc and didn’t have a single player score in double figures on Friday.
“We just didn’t play with the intensity we needed,” said Smith-Cotton coach Kevin Schnicker, whose team was coming off a charged 54-50 victory over Camdenton on Tuesday night. “They just outplayed us tonight.”
The Saints (1-0), though, were far from perfect. They shot 36 percent from the floor and their leading scorers had just 12 points (Tyler Clement and Jimmy Clark), but a dominant first half — and more specifically, second quarter — paved the way for a W.
Live by the 3
The second quarter started with a pair of treys from Clement, who staked the Saints to a 15-11 lead with his fourth consecutive trey of the first half.
“We didn’t do a good job of containing (Clement) and getting help and swinging guys over to get a hand in his face,” Schnicker said. “He had 12 of their first 15 points and we knew he was a good shooter. That’s why I was pretty disappointed in our covering of him.”
Aside from a basket from Gerald Olinger, who led the team with six rebounds, and a 3-point play late in the frame by Dalton Christian, who had eight points, Smith-Cotton had no answer.
Clark joined Clement with three treys of his own in the frame and the Saints shot 6 of 10 overall, 5 of 8 from 3-point land and 4 of 5 from the free-throw line in the second quarter, which ended with the Saints leading 30-14.
“(Clark) started off cold, but then we gave him space and he found his rhythm,” Schnicker said.
Outscored 21-5 in the decisive eight-minute stretch, the Tigers shot just 2 of 7 in the frame and ended the half 1 of 9 from 3-point land.
“They went on a run and we got impatient and started forcing it,” Schnicker said. “We’ve told them, when a team goes on a run, we can’t try to get it all back quickly. We have to get stops and play good defense, and we have to have good passing and good shot attempts. We didn’t do that tonight.”
The Overland Park, Kan.-based Saints, however, opened the door for a Tigers comeback in the second half.
Saints cool down
Out of the locker room, the Saints’ shooting touch went cold, ice cold.
Clement and Clark combined for just two points and the Saints shot 0 of 6 from beyond the arc and 6 for 24 from the floor in the half. But the Tigers just couldn’t take advantage.
Smith-Cotton made just 5 of 20 shots from the floor and went 1 for 10 on 3-point attempts. Moriarty, who was averaging 15 points headed into the contest, was held to just two points in the second half and the Tigers mustered only four points in the third quarter (after which they trailed 37-18) and eight points in the final frame.
The shooting woes weren’t all self-inflicted, though.
“You’ve got to give it to them,” Schnicker said. “They played good defense, fundamentally sound. If you put anybody against them in our state, they’ll hold their own. They went up to Kansas City and played with the best teams and competed and won. We know they’re that type of team that we need to play to get better.”
To improve, maybe the Tigers need to watch the film from a competitive first quarter.
A promising start
Christian got things started on the opening possession with a nice move in the post, and Moriarty followed with a steal and a layup and then a 3-pointer to give the Tigers an early 7-3 lead.
Aside from a pair of treys from Clement, the Saints offense sputtered and shot just 3 of 8 from the floor.
Moriarty ended the frame with seven points on 3 of 6 shooting as the two teams went into the second quarter deadlocked at 9.
“We came out and we played hard,” Schnicker said. “I was pleased with our start.”
But the start proved to be an anomaly as the momentum fizzled.