It has been 41 days since Free State High’s boys basketball team last left the floor with a victory.
What better time to get away for a while?
The Firebirds hope to break a six-game losing streak as soon as tonight, when they begin their three-day stay at the McPherson Invitational Basketball Tournament.
In the minutes following the most recent FSHS loss, Friday against Olathe Northwest, coach Chuck Law told his team the upcoming tournament might be just what it needs.
“Teams find themselves sometimes during tournament week,” Law said. “You go someplace different, play some different teams, you’re in a different setting, maybe try some different combination of guys that you haven’t played together to that point in the year.
“A lot of strange things happen. Teams that you wouldn’t think would beat people, on paper, find a way to do it in the tournament week. That’s what I’m hopeful we’ll do.”
The Firebirds (2-6) have the unenviable task of opening the tournament against the host Bullpups (8-1). The No. 5 team in Class 4A, McPherson features a talented starting unit and beat Topeka Washburn Rural (No. 10 in 6A) by 16 in December.
“That’s all they raise in that town is basketball players,” Law said of McPherson. “They’re skilled, they’ve got some size, I’m told they have some really nice chemistry.”
Actually, chemistry is one area in which the Firebirds could use some improvement, junior guard Reshawn Caro said: “When we go down to McPherson we’re gonna have team bonding.”
Law hopes that will be apparent when FSHS plays.
“Our guys like each other a lot and have really great camaraderie off the court,” the coach said. “What we’re having a difficult time finding is that camaraderie and teamwork on the court and really working together and communicating and helping your teammates out. Hopefully we can find that this week.”
Junior guard Cole Moreano agreed the next three nights in McPherson could help Free State get on track.
“It’ll help us come together, hopefully, because we’re obviously not at the stage we wanted to be at. If we get three wins down there, that’d be big. We all think we can,” Moreano said, adding three victories would get the Firebirds back near .500.
Step one is putting an end to the losing streak.
“We have to win a game,” Moreano said. “We’ve played well enough in a lot of games (four losses by six points or less) and we just haven’t finished. That’s on all of us, but specifically on a few players, like me. We just need to finish better. We’re always in the game. I think once we get one win under our belt it’ll be a lot easier to get the next one.”