Fort Osage edges North boys
Despite jumping out to an early lead Friday night, the Shawnee Mission North boys basketball team could not hold off a bigger, more physical Fort Osage squad, falling 77-72 on the road.
“It was a big battle,” said North coach B.J. Hair. “They’re a big, strong, physical team. We came out like gangbusters and I thought our kids competed throughout, but we turned the ball over 20 times, and that was disappointing for us.”
The loss, which was North’s first of the year after opening with back-to-back victories, was an offensive bonanza with both teams taking each other’s best shots. However, turnovers, fouls, and missed opportunities plagued North through the fourth quarter.
“We competed and battled to the end,” Hair said, “but we missed too many free throws. We had our chances, but we just missed them in the fourth quarter. We also fouled too much. They shot 41 free throws. We’ve got to learn not to put our hands on people on defense.”
Hair praised the Fort Osage squad as the toughest of his squad’s first three opponents.
“They go 6-6, 6-5, 6-5 across the front line,” stated Hair of the tall Fort Osage squad. “They’re big and physical. They have one post player who is really good, and their guards are really quick. Their guards forced us into a lot of turnovers. We went from turning the ball over nine times against Shawnee Mission West on Tuesday to turning it over 20 times against Osage.”
North had a pair of standout players in senior guard Lloyd Young and sophomore post Scott Johnson who both put up banner efforts.
Young connected on four 3-pointers to lead the team with 20 points while Johnson’s frontcourt efforts resulted in 19 points.
Hair now has to refocus his team for a big week. The Indians have two home games this week — Tuesday night’s matchup against Shawnee Mission South comes first, followed by the Friday’s tilt against Shawnee Mission East.
“We’re a little worried about handling success,” Hair said. “I think that was a horrible problem for us after beating West. I was very concerned that the guys were going in with the attitude that, ‘Hey, we’re 2-0 and all we have to do to win is just show up.’ We still competed, but we’ve got to learn the value of holding onto the basketball. In fact, I learned from this game that we haven’t spent enough time going over a full-court pressure defense. I realized that I could do a better job.”
After the Tuesday matchup with the Raiders, Hair knows that the Friday night matchup with East will have a similar look to the Fort Osage pairing.
“East has great size,” Hair said. “We’re going to have to find a way to rebound and to get back to what we were doing before. Anytime you have a pair of Shawnee Mission schools going at it, you know you’re in for a battle.”