Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Mokane Late in the second quarter of Tuesday night’s game against the Montgomery County Wildcats, South Callaway senior guard Bryan Lechner picked off an errant pass and saw his chance.
An open floor. An open basket. The chance to put away two points above the rim.
Unfortunately for the 6-foot-1 Lechner, signals got crossed between him, the ball, the basket and that pesky air above the rim.
“I tell him that a dunk is like a three-point shot late in the game; you have to understand time and situation of the game,” South Callaway head coach Tony Brandt said. “If it’s a two- or four-point lead in the fourth quarter we’d probably not take it, but if we’re up 10 in the first half then I’m OK with it.”
Luckily for Brandt, Lechner and the other Bulldogs, it was more of the latter and not the former. South Callaway was never threatened in a 60-34 blowout victory over Montgomery County.
Actually, the Wildcats (1-3) never got closer than a 4-2 deficit, the victims of a poor shooting performance that saw many a dead-on field-goal attempt rim out and into the waiting hands of a South Callaway rebounder.
The Bulldogs (2-2) limited the Wildcats to seven points in the first quarter and 20 in the first half.
“My concern there is our defense letting them get as low as they did,” Brandt said. “We just have to focus more and take it strong to the hole.”
For South Callaway, offensive conversions might have come more frequently but it wasn’t as easy. The Bulldogs had their fair share of point-blank misfires, but Brandt was pleased — for the most part — with his team’s shot selection.
“I thought we did a great job of getting the ball in the paint where we wanted it and not just settling for threes,” Brandt said. “I told them at halftime that I’d rather miss twos than threes, because at least we’re getting the ball where we want to go.”
That rang especially true in the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs broke out for an 18-2 run in the first 2 1/2 minutes to jump out to a 55-30 lead.
“It was something I’ve been waiting for these guys to do, because you talk about letting teams hang around with us and giving them hope instead of putting them away,” Brandt said. “We switched defenses on them, which threw them off, and got rebounds and quick run-outs, which led to points.”
Brandt mentioned his team’s offensive struggles in the preceding three games, but that seemed to be fixed as far as Tuesday night was concerned. Senior guard Will Brandt led all South Callaway scorers with 12 of his game-high 20 points in the second half.
Senior forward Jacob Wolfe added 18 points and Lechner — in spite of his earlier failed attempt to rock the rim — finished strong with 17.
“Right now we’re struggling offensively and not jelling as a unit or a team, and I’m trying to get them more minutes as a unit so they can feel comfortable together,” Tony Brandt said.
Now with a .500 record, Brandt is seeing at least a glimpse of what he wants the Bulldogs to work toward in the coming months.
“My biggest thing in the first few games was the lack of focus and letting team’s out-execute us,” Brandt said. “So we’re not there, but like I tell them, you don’t want to be playing your best basketball in December, you want to be playing your best in February.”
South Callaway plays at New Bloomfield at 6 p.m. Friday.