Cougars start fast, struggle to finish in loss to Vikings
Shawnee Mission Northwest boys basketball coach Mike Rose has seen glimpses of promise from his team in Sunflower League play, but he knows full well that it takes a solid 32-minute showing to win most league games.
Rose saw much of the same from the Cougars on Friday against SM West, as they jumped out to an eight-point lead in the second quarter before falling off pace in their 75-60 loss to the Vikings.
C.C. Ghilardi, Austin Heinisch and Jaylen Love made two 3-pointers a piece in the first quarter and a half to stake the Cougars to a 29-21 lead, but SM Northwest did not have knock down another shot from long distance the rest of the way.
"That's been our struggle all season long is shooting the basketball, and we don't defend very good," Rose said. "Hitting those shots was good, but I didn't know if we could sustain it, and obviously we couldn't."
The Vikings closed the half on a 16-4 run to take a 37-33 lead going into the break. After Love scored to begin the second half, the Vikings hit the Cougars with an 8-0 run to go up by double digits, and they coasted the rest of the way.
"We just have such a hard time guarding the basketball, being where we're supposed to be and rebounding the basketball," Rose said. "You can't give up 75 points in a game and expect to win it — even if we shot the ball really well. The latter part of the second quarter and all of the second half, we didn't shoot it very good."
To compound the Cougars' defensive struggles, they committed 14 turnovers — many of them leading to layups at the other end for the Vikings. West was also able to get to the free-throw line 39 times, and knocked down 31 of them.
"They were running their little trap, and we were making poor decisions out of it. Guys weren't stepping up to help, and we were making too long of passes against it," Rose said. "They shot a lot of layups and a lot of free throws tonight, and that's part of our sloppiness on the offensive end and secondly we don't move our feet and we foul too much."
Love and Ghilardi scored 16 and 14 points, respectively, to lead the Cougars. They weren't able to match up with the balanced offensive effort from the Vikings, though. Mike Hood (20 points), Zach Witters (19) and Elijah Graham (16) all scored in double figures for the Vikings.
"That's part of our problem is that we're very inconsistent from night to night with how guys are playing. C.C. does a nice job of coming and playing hard all of the time, and Jaylen can do those kinds of things for us, but then all of a sudden we just kind of get some of the other guys that aren't consistently there," Rose said. "That's my fault for not having them prepared to play in a basketball game, so that's just how it is. We've got to see if we can find some guys to at least get out there and play hard and try to do the things we're asking them to do."
The Cougars (7-11) will try to finish the regular season on a high note, as they prepare for senior night against Olathe Northwest on Tuesday and a road tilt with SM North on Friday.
"We're falling to the bottom of that sub-state way quicker than what we wanted to," Rose said. We'll just have to come back."
Cole Biery 0-0 0-0 0, Colton Skeens 0-4 0-0 0, Adam Gleason 0-0 0-0 0, George Specht 1-4 0-0 2, C.C. Ghilardi 5-15 2-2 14, Jason Eskina 0-1 0-0 0, Alex Oleson 1-4 0-0 2, Randall Moore Jr. 3-4 3-3 9, Noah Kendall 3-5 2-2 8, Austin Heinisch 3-3 0-0 8, Jaylen Love 4-12 6-9 16, Dale Talley 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 20-51 14-18 60.
Jason Potter 0-4 6-6 6, Mike Hood 4-10 10-12 20, Israel Watson 3-6 0-1 6, Cameron Southern 2-5 2-2 7, Zach Witters 6-10 6-6 19, Elijah Graham 5-11 6-9 16, Jack McMahon 0-0 0-0 0, Eric Rhymes 0-0 0-0 0, Josh Clipston 0-0 0-0 0, Justin Hylton 0-0 0-1 0, Brady Hart 0-0 1-2 1, Jack Durst 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-46 31-39 75.
SMNW 15 18 12 15 — 60
SMW 12 25 19 19 — 75
Three-point goals: SMNW 6-21 (Heinisch 2, Love 2, Ghilardi 2); SMW 4-12 (Hood 2, Southern, Witters). Fouled out: Randall Moore Jr., SMNW. Turnovers: SMNW 14, SMW 5.