By: Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
A late comeback fell short as the Manchester Flying Dutchmen Boys basketball team (1-1) fell to the Tri-Valley Conference Madison Trojans (1-1) 54-44 in non-conference action on Nov. 30.
After a season-opening win against Clinton that saw transition scoring and high-pressure defense, the Trojans used a similar formula against the Dutchmen to pick up their first win of the season and hand Manchester their first loss.
The Trojans paid extra attention to Dutchmen junior guard Ty Horky, who was double and triple teamed throughout the night and was the focus of the Trojan defense in transition.
“In our post game I said, ‘we knew this was coming,’” said first-year Manchester head coach Mike Ahrens. “I have to do a better job at practice, we’re gonna start doubling him. And Devon too. I’ve seen teams start sagging on him and putting pressure on him.”
Madison jumped out to a 19-6 lead after the fits quarter. Taking away everything the Dutchmen did in their first game to start out on a solid foot.
The Trojans got back in transition, not allowing the Dutchmen easy fast break points, and offensively, they broke the Dutchmen press and got easy looks inside the paint. They outscored the Dutchmen 20-6 in the paint in the first half.
“A quick trigger,” said Ahrens when asked what they did well to break the press. “They inbound the ball quickly and their passes, they were the better team. Their passes were sharper and crisper. We’re supposed to have our press continue working when the ball goes over our press. If that ball is dribbled once or twice our whole press has to back up because we get sucked in and they go over the top.”
Trojan senior forward Mike Dillard and sophomore forward Jordan Benson combined for 13 of those points. All of those points came from in the paint or at the line after drawing fouls inside.
The Dutchmen outscored the Trojans 15-10 in the second quarter to cut the halftime lead for the Trojans to 29-21.
Horky had ten of those 15 points, with all but two coming from the free throw line. Horky struggled with the pressure throughout the night only finishing with three made field goals but went 12-13 from the line to lead the team with 19 points.
“Defensively at halftime, we made some changes,” said Ahrens. “We played a lot more zone than I wanted to. I’ve never gone to a zone this early in a season. I felt confident after Clinton with what they had done in practice. That (zone) did slow them down. We just got a lot of work to do.”
Three minutes in the quarter the Dutchmen lost junior center Braeden Caszatt and senior forward Devon Kelly. Their two tallest players saddled with the foul trouble, Ahrens switched to a zone in the second half and saw success in slowing down the Trojans attack.
In the third quarter, the Dutchmen offense was powered by Kelly as a focus after half was to get the ball inside more. Kelly had seven points in the quarter with three buckets inside the paint and a made free throw after an offensive rebound.
Senior guard River Spitler provided a spark with Horky being hounded. He a defensive rebound, an assist to Kelly and had four points in the quarter including a layup off of a pass from Kelly right before the end of the quarter to cut the deficit to four.
Kelly finished with 11 points and Spitler had 7 to round out the scoring leaders for the Dutchmen.
At the quarter break, the focus was on getting stops, rebounds, and continuing to look to push on offense.
“Our best offense is on the attack, not the half court set,” said Ahrens. “Then, as soon as we score were in the press.”
The Trojans used an 8-0 run to start the quarter to put the game away. Madison senior Josh Holder found Dillard n transition for his second layup in as many possessions to make it 47-35, forcing a Manchester timeout.
Dillard led the Trojans with 15 points including 8 in the final frame to help propel the Trojans to the win.
A transition lay up from Horky made it 49-42 but it was too little too late as the Trojans ran out the time forcing the Dutchmen to foul and taking the win 54-44.
Manchester hosts Sand Creek on Dec. 4.
“It’s a learning experience,” said Ahrens after the game. “I have to keep things in perspective too. We have 19 more games. I’m excited we’re gonna be at home next Tuesday. They’re positive, they’re up. They don’t like losing but we’ll learn.”