Close season this Saturday in Mt. Olympus
by Than Acuff
Slow starts plagued the Titans in their last two games but a strong finish against the South Park Burros showed, once again, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Titans headed on the road Friday, February 10 to face the Custer County Bobcats, a team notorious for strong basketball. Titans coach Mike Moran was well aware of how the Bobcats like to play and he worked with the team all week to prepare.
“We knew they were a force to be reckoned with,” says junior guard Sydney Petersen. “But coach knew they run a very good flex cut offense so we practiced all week how to defend against it.”
Unfortunately, the long bus ride and the speed and size of Custer County proved too much. A slow start for the Titans led to a big first quarter for Custer County and the Titans never recovered, losing 63-10.
“We didn’t start out that strong and they definitely schooled us on the flex cut and they’re just bigger and faster than us,” says Petersen.
The Titans shook off the loss and looked forward to their next game on Saturday, February 11 against South Park. The Titans faced South Park earlier in the season and notched one of their three wins of the season against the Burros, so energy was high among the Titans prior to the game.
“We were really excited going into that game,” says Petersen.
What they didn’t know until the opening tip-off was that South Park was missing two key players in the first game and those two players made all the difference.
“We didn’t know they had those girls and that hit us hard,” says Petersen.
The two big girls immediately established themselves inside and South Park battered the Titans for the first half. The Titans did settle into running their offense and were able to open up some quality looks but the shots missed and South Park’s size dominated the boards to take a 29-1 lead into halftime.
“We just didn’t start out well as a team and the first half was just awful,” says Petersen. “At halftime we talked about playing harder, hustling after loose balls and we really all just got mad.”
That shift in intensity made for a much better showing by the Titans in the second half. Petersen got the Titans back on track with a three-pointer, followed by a three-pointer and a 14-foot jumper from Siena Truex. The Titans played relatively evenly, with South Park holding them to 10 points while scoring eight of their own.
“Siena definitely sparked us,” says Petersen.
Truex remained on target in the fourth quarter, draining a couple of deep shots and Lily Talbot joined in with a three-pointer as well and while the game was out of reach, the Titans finished strong with full support from their fans as South Park finished with a 51-16 win. Truex led the Titans with nine points.
“We pushed the ball and ran the break to set up shots,” says Petersen. “We were definitely happy with the way the second half went. That first half just bummed us out. We didn’t play to our potential for the entire game.”
The Titans will have a tough finish to the season this weekend as they take on two of the best teams in 2A, playing Sargent on Friday, February 17 and then hosting Del Norte on Saturday, February 18. While a win may be out of the question, the team still has some goals for their final two games.
“If we put four or three quarters together to keep Sargent and Del Norte under 50 points, that would be good,” says Petersen. “And if Siena’s shots and Lily’s shots are falling, we can put some points on the board.”