Cold shooting costs boys in losses
Published: Thursday, January 24th, 2013
When a team averages 25 percent shooting from the field over the course of two games, a coach might struggle to find the words to describe the team’s shooting.
Custer High School boys basketball coach Larry Luitjens is not one of those coaches.
Coming off a pair of games that would have seen his players unable to hit water if they fell out of a boat—they shot 27 percent against Red Cloud and 24 percent against Pine Ridge—Luitjens summed up the team’s shooting performance with one word.
“Atrocious,” he said.âï¿½ï¿½“Just atrocious.”
The team shot 18 percent in the first half during a 70-46 loss to the visiting Red Cloud Crusaders last Saturday night at the Armory, Custer’s second consecutive loss to end what was an ugly week for a team that is clearly not the same without injured point guard Cody Martinz.
“We’re not getting any easy shots. I don’t think we had one fast break basket either game,”âï¿½ï¿½Luitjens said.âï¿½ï¿½“You have to get a few easy ones. We are not taking the best shots. We need to have more patience offensively.”
While Custer was struggling from the floor all night, Red Cloud shot the lights out, hitting 56 percent of the shots they took, including a mind-boggling 70 percent from inside the three-point arc. The ’Cats had absolutely no answer for Red Cloud’s 6-5 post man Dominic Pilcher, who hit 10 of the 12 shots he attempted on the way to a 25-point night.
Interior defense has become another glaring trouble spot for the Wildcats, and one that Martinz’s return won’t correct. Pilcher and Pine Ridge’s 6-5 post player Jeff LeBeau combined to go 19 of 22 shooting in the paint last week against Custer.
“We played poor defense. We didn’t get around in front of (Pilcher),”âï¿½ï¿½Luitjens said. “I didn’t know he was that good. He didn’t play that well at the Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI). They worked hard to get him the ball.”
Custer came out with a different tactic offensively, trying to slow the pace and turn the game into a grind. The plan never worked, however, as Chase Glazier, who scored a game-high 26 points, was forced to do virtually everything for Custer, including bringing the ball up the court and most of the scoring.
Luitjens said Glazier is being forced to do too much in Martinz’s absence.
“The worst part about it is I expect him to do it,”âï¿½ï¿½he said.âï¿½ï¿½“He has to bring the ball down the floor. He has to score. He has to rebound. He has to defend (the other team’s) best player. Iâï¿½ï¿½expect him to do everything, but he can’t. We have to have Cody back. We just have to.”
Glazier struggled from the field as well, however, against Red Cloud, hitting only 30 percent of his shots. He made seven baskets in the game, the same number as the rest of the team combined.
After back-to-back three-pointers by Red Cloud’s Falcon Albers and a Crusader transition basket put Redâï¿½ï¿½Cloud up 10-2, Luitjens called a timeout. From there, Pilcher went to work inside, and when he wasn’t scoring he was kicking it out to open shooters.
Custer battled back midway through the second quarter with the help of a basket by Adam Baker and a Kenneth Myers three, but Red Cloud went back to work in the paint and eventually took a 34-21 lead into the half.
It was the third quarter where the wheels truly fell off for the Wildcats, as an Albers steal and basket while being fouled made the score 44-26. The Redâï¿½ï¿½Cloud press began to force numerous Custer turnovers—Custer had 17 on the night—and by the time Albers buried another three-pointer at the 5:38 mark of the fourth quarter, Redâï¿½ï¿½Cloud led 59-39 and never looked back.
Last Thursday night was even more of an offensive struggle for the team in Pine Ridge, as Glazier went for 24 points but the rest of the team scored only 12 in a 65-37 loss to the Thorpes.
As bad as the team’s outing was against Red Cloud, Luitjens said it was even worse all-around against Pine Ridge, as the team struggled with turnovers and the low field goal percentage, while shooting only 55 percent from the free throw range.
Pine Ridge, on the other hand, shot over 50 percent, including 62 percent inside the paint, most of which came from LeBeau, who hit nine of the 10 shots he took on his way to 20 points.
The Wildcats will look to get back on the winning track Thursday night at home, when they play a 7:30 p.m. game against Douglas. The team figures to be buoyed by the return of Martinz, who is expected to play for the first time since injuring his wrist in the team’s final game of the LNI in December.
Douglas is better than its 2-8 record would indicate, having taken St. Thomas More to the wire once this year, and also taking Red Cloud to overtime.
Luitjens said his message to the team this week will be simple; decide if it wants to quit as the going has gotten rough.
“They have to decide what they’re going to do. We’re down right now and getting slapped,”âï¿½ï¿½he said.
Luitjens said the team will make it a point to press and run more, something it has gotten away from since Martinz’s injury. Luitjens said just having Martinz on the court should make a huge difference for the team.
“If his right hand bothers him, he can dribble all left handed and we will still be better than we are right now,”âï¿½ï¿½he said.âï¿½ï¿½“You can’t take out your senior point guard and think you’re not going to be better when he steps back on the floor.”
Luitjens said the team will be much better come Thursday night, no matter how badly it played the past two games.
Then he paused.
“And we played bad.”
Custer 4 17 14 11 —46
RC 12 22 18 18 —70
Custer—Logan Burns 1-4 0-0 2, Erik Hiltunen 0-2 1-2 1, Kenneth Myers 3-10 4-6 11, Jared Thomsen 0-4 0-0 0, Chase Glazier 7-23 11-14 26, David Hernandez 0-1 0-0 0, Graysen Trandem 0-3 0-2 0, Adam Baker 3-4 0-0 6. Totals:âï¿½ï¿½14-51 16-24 46.
Red Cloud—Tommy Janis 1-2 0-0 3, Colby Hunter 1-2 0-0 2, Mato Hinton 0-0 0-0 0, Andre Starr 0-0 0-0 0, Duran 4-9 0-0 9, Shane Star 0-0 0-0, Ryan Hussman 0-0 0-0 Cully Pourier 2-5 1-2 5, Kobe O’Rourke 2-4 0-0 4, Falcon Albers 5-11 4-7 18, Brent Herman 2-3 0-0 4, Dominic Pilcher 10-12 5-7 25. Totals:âï¿½ï¿½27-48 10-16 70.
Three-point goals: Custer 2 (Myers, Glazier), RCâï¿½ï¿½6 (Albers 4). Rebounds:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 15, RCâï¿½ï¿½30 (Pilcher 7). Steals: Custer 8 (Myers 4), RCâï¿½ï¿½12 (Richards 4). Assists:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 5, RCâï¿½ï¿½ 19 (Albers 8). Turnovers:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 17, RCâï¿½ï¿½23. Total fouls:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 17, RCâï¿½ï¿½22. Fouled out:âï¿½ï¿½Albers. Technical fouls:âï¿½ï¿½Albers.
Custer—Logan Burns 1-4 0-0 2, Erik Hiltunen 1-5 0-2 2, Kenneth Myers 2-9 0-1 6 Jared Thomsen 0-3 0-0 0, Chase Glazier 6-15 9-13 22, David Hernandez 0-0 0-0 0, Graysen Trandem 1-1 0-0 2, Adam Baker 0-9 1-2 1. Totals:âï¿½ï¿½11-46 11-20 36.
Pine Ridge—Trey Walking 1-1 0-0 2, Jesse Brown 1-2 0-0 2, Perez Deleon 1-2 0-0 2, Jacob Dreamer 2-5 0-0 5, Jacob Brown 9-16 0-0 20, Derek Tyon 1-4 0-0 2, Jeremy Bettleyoun 1-2 2-2 5, Mike Brings Plenty 0-4 2-2 2, Corey Cedar Face 1-4 1-2 3, Jeff LeBeau 9-10 2-2 20, Ki-Jana Gray Grass 1-1 0-0 2.
Three-point goals: Custer 3 (Myers 2), PRâï¿½ï¿½4 (Ja. Brown 2). Rebounds:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 25 (Trandem 7), PRâï¿½ï¿½26 (LeBeau 10). Steals: Custer 3, PRâï¿½ï¿½10. Assists:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 6, PRâï¿½ï¿½ 15. Turnovers:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 17, PRâï¿½ï¿½12. Total fouls:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 10, PRâï¿½ï¿½17. Fouled out:âï¿½ï¿½none.
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