The Rough Riders rode away from Bainbridge High School with a 63-55 win in recent action, having bested the island boys varsity basketball team.
It was the Spartan squad’s fourth straight loss, and left them with an overall season record of 4-10. They have yet to win a league game (0-9), and remain in the bottom spot of the Metro standings.
The game began very well for BHS.
A series of big three-pointers, by co-captain Charlie Hoberg and others, rocketed the Spartan score well ahead in the early minutes of the first quarter, though the Rough Riders hung tough and the island team led by just three points (20-17) by the start of the second.
It was a slim buffer at best, and was not to last.
Pulling ahead shortly after the start of quarter number two, the Roosevelt squad could not maintain the lead for long. The Spartans again ruled the board (25-21) with about four minutes left in the half.
It was enough.
The third began with the Rough Riders up 37-30. The Spartans would not retake the lead again.
The first quarter’s performance was some of the best basketball yet played by this year’s Spartan squad, said BHS Head Coach Steve Haizlip. The pieces of the team were all working fine, though the secret to putting it together remained elusive.
“They looked very good, and it’s easy to look good when you’re making your shots, but it also doesn’t surprise me because we have good shooters,” the coach said.
“I think the key about that was we were making shots when we had good possessions. We looked really good, and moving the ball inside out; that’s what we talk about. It also doesn’t surprise me because we’ve continued to get better, and I truly mean that. It’s just a matter of putting it together.”
They key to a late-season Spartan comeback, Haizlip said, would be continuity.
“Our biggest issue is just these four quarters,” he said. “We’re going to do it. It actually is not a hard thing to fix, we just got to be focused.”
After Friday, the BHS team hit the road for a four-game away streak. They will return to play at home again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30 in their final home appearance of the regular season.
Haizlip said he has every confidence the team’s record would by then reflect the effort and skills of the players.
“Coaching-wise, honestly, this group is easy to coach,” he said. “They believe. Now what we’re trying to do is get them to believe what it takes to win a game and what it takes is to have some grit. You got to be able to fight through those tough offensive possessions and moments and get stops. We didn’t get stops.”
A lack of layups, or missed opportunities regarding perhaps less impressive shots, was a weak point in the Spartan game, Haizlip said.
“I think we had some miscommunication on offense, which resulted in some easy layups,” he said. “Layups is what helps your percentages and then, not only did they get layups, they’ve got two really good shooters. So, when you give up an easy layup and the a three it starts compounding. It starts building.
“We’re going to get open threes, but we need to get some easy buckets,” he added. “We’re right there. This is a really special group.”