Farmer defense corrals Titan boys in first league test of season

Full court pressure for a full 32 minutes

It was the Titans’ first true test of the season. After numerous non-league games prior to the Christmas break, the Titans finally jumped into the fray of league play hosting the Sargent Farmers on Saturday, January 12 in mighty Mt. Olympus.
And while the Titans managed to stay in the game all four quarters, relentless pressure by the Farmers eventually took its toll as the Titans fell 45-42.
The Titans came out swinging in the first quarter with everyone contributing on offense. Senior Jesse Reeves drove and dished to senior Clifford Gibbens for the first bucket of the game.
Reeves penetrated again for two points of his own, senior Kain Hamilton added a bucket and dished an inside pass to senior Ryan Costello for two more and by the close of the first quarter, the Titans were on top 10-4.
“They [Sargent] only scored one field goal in the first quarter,” says coach Brandin Hamilton. “You can’t do any better than that really.”
Unfortunately, three things happened during the course of the Titans outburst. For starters, Hamilton picked up two fouls and coach Brandin Hamilton decided to sit him to avoid his third. Second, the Farmers switched from man-to-man full court pressure to a zone trap that sent the Titans reeling. Third, Sargent started hitting shots.
“The pressure kept us from getting into our half court game,” says Brandin.
The Farmers opened the second quarter with an 11-2 run to pull ahead 15-12 midway through the second quarter. Junior Tommy Rainville came off the bench to put up four key points, quashing the Farmer stampede as the Titans closed the half down one point.
After sitting out the second quarter with two fouls, Kain opened the third quarter with a quick six-foot jump hook. Reeves drove to the hole to score on the Titans next possession and they looked back on track, but Sargent refused to fold.
The Farmers responded to each Titan bucket with a variety of attacks. Quick looks gave them easy baskets in transition while patient offense set up their shooters for open three-pointers. After the two teams spent the first four minutes trading baskets, Sargent put up six quick points to take a 32-24 lead.
Kain took matters into his own hands to carry the Titans on his shoulders, scoring seven points of his own but the Farmers closed the quarter with another easy basket to take a 35-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Farmers held their four-point lead through the start of the fourth quarter with the two teams back to trading baskets. Costello put up four quick points to pull the Titans back into the game and when Kain scored underneath the basket, the Titans were within one point with 45 seconds left.
Chaos ensued though, and while the Titans had a couple of chances to take the lead, frantic play resulted in untimely turnovers and the Farmers held on for the 45-42 win.
Kain led the Titans with 14 points, Costello scored 12 and Gibbens added in eight.
While the Titans were solid from the perimeter shooting 50 percent, most of which came inside, the Farmer pressure proved the difference in the game.
“They wore our guards out and things felt chaotic,” says Brandin. “We had 13 turnovers in the first half and eight in the second, you’re not gonna win a game like that.”
Nevertheless, Brandin was encouraged by his team’s heart.
“I thought our kids played with a lot of desire,” says Brandin. “They refused to give up. I loved that.”
The Titans will hit the road this weekend to play league opponent Center on Friday, January 18.

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