The junior high Hoopsters Hoosiers suffered a few major setbacks in their game on Saturday at Langston Hughes Elementary. With missing and injured players the team struggled to combat the Wildcats.
"We had one player who hurt his stomach muscles and another with three fouls throughout the entire game so we were pretty limited," Hoosiers head coach Larry Leslie said.
The setbacks were not enough to pull the team out of an early point deficit, and the Wildcats won easily, 47-19.
The Wildcats took the court forcefully with an early basket sunk from behind the three-point arc. Aaron Tilden went to work for the team drivingdown the court for two lay-ups. Some free-throw shots and a final basket from the Wildcats drove an eight-point wedge between the two teams at the end of the first as they finished 10-2. Wildcat players said their strong defense helped them keep the Hoosiers' scoring in check.
"Defense was the big reason we won the game," Wildcat guard Zach Losey said. "Our 1-3-1 and 1-2-2 defensive plays worked well for us."
The Wildcats continued their solid defensive play into the second quarter. The team spread out and pushed the Hoosiers to fight for an open shot. With the Hoosiers behind, Wildcat players Clarke Cunnigham, Nic Pryor and Aaron Tilden swept in for repeated lay-ups, including a buzzer-beater from Tilden. After the Hoosiers let loose a blind pass, Losey dashed to scoop it up and turn it around in the Wildcats favor. Losey helped his team out with five assists and six points in the game.
Though down and out, the Hoosiers did have some bright moments. After many missed shot attempts, the team finally sunk three in the second quarter. Hoosiers player Alex Thompson, who was visibly struggling through much of the game because of a bandaged knee, got in a few steals to energize his team. Thompson's efforts fell short and the Hoosiers closed out the half with a 14-point deficit.
The third quarter ushered in some more shot attempts from the Hoosiers, but the shots just weren't falling. The Wildcats continued to widen the gap even more with a lay-up from Tilden and a free throw point from Pryor that was followed up by a basket just before the clock ran out. The third quarter ended with a commanding 34-10 lead for the Wildcats.
"We had a lot of good open shots from spreading our offense out," Wildcats head coach Linze Tate said. "The kids got more aggressive going after the ball in this game compared to our previous game."
The Hoosiers tried to turn their bad luck around in the fourth as they sunk the first bucket of the quarter. Hoosier Ben Bartels followed up with another basket, and Thompson finally hit his mark with both a two and three-pointer.
The Wildcats were relentless as they answered with a three-pointer of their own, two lay-ups and Pryor's two final buckets. A final field goal in the last seconds shot the Wildcats' margin of victory to 28 points.
After the game coach Tate took the opportunity to congratulate the boys for their victory.
"Everyone gave 100 percent today," Tate said. "We played a really good defense."