Defensive teamwork contains the key ingredient for continued success.
By Jason B. Hogan
The devastated St. Philip’s Tigers limped off the court after an overwhelming slaughter at the hands of the Rangers basketball team, 110-99.
However, the final score gave no indication of the one-sided competition throughout the game, which the Rangers controlled.
Men’s and women’s head coach Will Dykes said he was proud of the way the men’s team performed.
Dykes said his team gave the Tigers too many opportunities to stay in a game that was ruled by the Rangers.
His general feeling was that the Rangers should have dominated their opposition by more points.
“Even the trash can get a steak,” Dykes said.
Effortless field goals from outside the perimeter dictated the Rangers’ early advantage in the game.
Skilled ball movement and on-court spacing gave them a variety of open shots.
Fashioning themselves on the defensive end, they opened the first four minutes of the game on a 16-2 run.
The Rangers sustained a high level of energy, consistently pushing the ball in transition which was pivotal in maintaining their lead toward the midway point of the first half.
Their dominance began while using support of a 2-3 zone on defense, a defensive set forcing them into costly turnovers.
With eight minutes remaining in the half, the Rangers opened up a 20-point lead.
Minor mistakes on defense by the Rangers became significant in several stretches of the first half.
The Tigers threatened to bring the point deficit back to single digits, but missed opportunities on their offensive end created long rebounds for the Rangers to capture.
This assisted the Rangers in re-establishing their transitional game, producing easy scoring opportunities and fabricating a 15-point lead going into the break.
Dykes attributed the multiple scoring runs by the Tigers to a lack of poise by the Rangers.
“We haven’t got that killer instinct yet,” Dykes said.
As the second half commenced, the Rangers introduced a different side to their offense, access to the paint area for easier scoring possibilities closer to the basket.
Quick slashes past the base line under the hoop was the Rangers new tool of choice, which created open shots from mid-range and beyond the 3-point arc.
Five minutes into the second half, the Rangers held a comfortable 25-point lead. It rose to more than 40 points.
Using high screen-and-rolls from the free-throw line, freeing a teammate from their defender, the Rangers steadily fed the ball into the low post.
During a game of runs from both competitors, the Rangers remained persistent in their defensive efforts, badgering the Tigers on their every scoring chance.
The Rangers’ biggest failure resided in endeavors to push the ball too quick on the fast break.
Turnovers dogged the Rangers, primarily reach-in fouls where they swiped recklessly at the ball for steals.
The Tigers brought the score back to within single digits, the closest since the first few minutes of the game.
Through all the in-game troubles by the Rangers, Dykes still remained optimistic in his after-game speech, keeping an open eye on future opponents.
“We’ve got another game next week,” Dykes said.
“Whoever they are, they’re going to be better than this team.”