Shawnee Mission North boys basketball coach Steve Stitzer was candid on Monday night after his team’s 70-40 loss to Hayden in the opening game of the Bobcat Basketball Invitational.
“We didn’t play,” Stitzer said. “Having those few days off again, like I said to the team, that’s not our game. We had a lot of things go wrong then we sat there and put our heads down.”
Stitzer is referring to the ice storm that wasn’t, which cancelled all activities and practices on Friday and Saturday, which meant Stitzer hadn’t seen his team since practice on Thursday.
Hayden controlled the tempo from the opening tip as it would quickly push the ball trying to look for a quick, easy basket. If the opening wasn’t there, the Wildcats would pull it out and run the offense.
SM North sophomore Billy Conaway said the tempo sped the Indians up on offense and they tried going shot for shot with Hayden, which was a mistake.
“My lack for the game, everybody wanted to go back and forth, come down the court once they hit one, we wanted to go at it,” Conaway said. “We should have just slowed it down and ran our offense and maybe we would have had a chance.”
But even then the Indians had difficulties running their sets. A few instances in the game Conaway and senior Danny Bradley had to tell their teammates to move or get to a spot.
Stitzer said his team is young and he’s going to continue to play young players. He said the little things his team are doing wrong are adding up. It’s too late in the year to be tinkering with the little things.
He said they’ve been working hard in practice, but hopes they play a little hard during the game.
“We have to expend our energy; 100 percent all the time,” Stitzer said. “They all have to fire together. They all have to be playing hard all the time. I catch one here, one there and that’s what young teams are about. I
If they’re so tired and they can’t walk then I know they gave me 100 percent.”
Hayden broke the game wide open in the second quarter when it went on an 11-0 run, which pushed the lead to 22-8. While 14 points doesn’t seem like a lot, it does when SM North didn’t score a bucket for more than eight minutes.
Conaway led the way with 13 points, Bradley added eight. Avante Williams, who participated in pregame warm-ups, didn’t play. Stitzer said it’s an internal team issue.
“It isn’t going to matter with him being gone or anything like that,” Stitzer said. “We have to go on.”