Slow start costly to Eagles in holiday tourney loss
George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]
With a 10 o’clock start time in the first round of the Springs Valley Holiday Tournament, the Lanesville boys had an early wake-up time. While the team was out of bed on time, their basketball bodies didn’t seem to wake up until 10 minutes after 11.
The Eagles got down 18 points early in the fourth quarter against Orleans and then fought all the way back to within three before eventually losing 62-59.
“I felt like we were very lethargic through the first three quarters,” said Lanesville coach Mikel Miller. “In the fourth quarter, we played more like we are capable of playing. We dug ourselves a big hole and against quality teams you can’t do that.”
Two free throws by Orleans’ Gavin Morgan put the Bulldogs up 51-33 with 5:39 remaining in the game, but that seemed to spark the Lanesville run.
Connor Nolot answered with two free throws of his own, and Mason Miller grabbed a steal and got an easy basket that trimmed the Orleans’ advantage to 14, 51-37.
Morgan went back to the line and hit one of two, but the point didn’t stop the Eagles’ comeback.
Trip Dillion III hit two free throws and a basket for Lanesville, and Jonas Powers scored a two that answered an Orleans basket, cutting the deficit even more, 56-43.
Ethan Schickel then hit one of two free throws, and Nolot sank two freebies. The foul shots were followed by a three from Mason Miller off a steal and the Orleans’ lead shrank to nine, 58-49.
A three by Justin Bailey with 1:04 remaining in the game pulled the Eagles to within six, 58-52.
The Bulldogs continued to leave the door open by missing free throws.
Lanesville got a point when Dillion hit one of two free throws after grabbing an offensive rebound, and Schickel got two more when he put in an offensive board.
The teams traded baskets until another Nolot goal with 7.3 seconds remaining cut Orleans’ lead to three.
Morgan missed two free throws, but the Eagles turned the ball over on their final possession, ending their hopes of a comeback.
Miller said he would have liked to see his team play the entire game like they did in the final 5-1/2 minutes.
“I told the kids, ‘If you will play the whole game like you did the fourth quarter, we will find some success,’” Miller said. “I credit Orleans. It’s disappointing for us. It was not the way we wanted to start off this tournament.”
Entering the fourth quarter, Nolot had just seven points, but scored nine in the final eight minutes.
Miller said Orleans was paying a lot of attention to Nolot on the defensive end, and it’s something the senior and the rest of his teammates are going to have to learn to adjust to.
“It looked like they were double and triple teaming him throughout, and it took Connor a little while to notice and adjust to that,” the Eagles’ coach said. “Connor has got to recognize that, but so do our other players. If their man is going to double Connor, they have to make themselves available to make a shot or put themselves in a position to help out. Hopefully, we will learn from this and it will help in our next game.”
Lanesville ended up beating Shoals in the next game 71-55 and defeated Centerville 72-38 in the fifth-place game.
One of the reasons the Eagles were able to rebound and win the final two games was the pace of the game. Miller said he felt like his team let Orleans dictate the speed of the game too often in the opener.
“Tempo was a key issue,” he said. “For most of the game, we played more toward their tempo than our tempo. In the fourth quarter, we started playing toward our tempo and found a little more success, both offensively and defensively.”
The score was tied at 9 at the end of the first quarter, and Orleans had a slim 27-20 advantage at intermission.
A basket by Dillion, with just more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter, cut the Bulldogs’ lead to six, 36-30, forcing Orleans coach Tom Bradley to call a timeout.
The stoppage of play sparked the Bulldogs, who went on a 9-0 run that saw a six-point lead grow to 15, 45-30.
Lanesville played in the Valley tournament without starter Griffen Reynolds, who stayed home sick. Missing components is something Miller said his team has been dealing with all season.
“We haven’t had all of our players together for a game all season,” Miller said.
One of the missing pieces was Dillion, who seems to be getting back into the groove after missing time with an early season knee injury.
“It’s nice to see him out there,” Miller said. “He is still trying to knock that rust off. He was very effective today and did a nice job. He is limited to a certain extent on some things that he can do right now, but he is playing his role really well. We will see what we have going forward with him as we mix him back in with the group.”
With a 2-1 record at Springs Valley, the Eagles are now 6-4. They will return to action Saturday against visiting Perry Central.
Lanesville 9 11 10 29 – 59
Orleans 9 18 16 19 – 62
Lanesville (6-4) – Connor Nolot 16, Mason Miller 14, Trip Dillion III 9, Ethan Schickel 9, Jonas Powers 4, Jacob Wernert 4, Justin Bailey 3.
Orleans (5-4) – Devyn Martin 19, Griffin Deckard 14, Gavin Morgan 14, Duncan King 8, Keighan Shawler 6, Conner Baker 1.
3-point goals – Lanesville 4 (Miller 2, Bailey 1, Nolot 1); Orleans 4 (Martin 3, Morgan 1).