There is the adage that teams are either getting better or worse.
The Cyclones’ level of play has declined. Ottawa scored 24 points in the past two games.
Ottawa never made a run at Spring Hill in Tuesday’s 37-24 loss in Spring Hill. Ottawa averaged 27 points a game in the past four losses, but more than 40 in last two wins.
“Nobody wanted the ball,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. “They could not get rid of the ball fast enough. It was heart. They are not playing with a sense of pride.
“We preach to them the importance of defense. With their athleticism, speed and length, they should be a really good defensive team. They got the tools. They need to go out and execute.
“I told them at halftime, ‘have some pride in what you are doing.’ We went through the motions.”
Ottawa had three bad stretches of defense. The first was in the final three minutes of the first quarter when Spring Hill went on a 8-0 run to open a 10-3 lead.
The final run was another 8-0 spurt as the Broncos increased the lead to 32-15 with 5:21 left in the game.
“We did not hustle back [on defense],” McCullough said. “It is not a physical thing.”
Ottawa had trouble running its offense.
“We had so many unforced turnovers,” McCullough said. “We are not a good outside shooting team.”
Ottawa was 6 of 24 from the field through three quarters, but 4 of 9 in the fourth quarter.
“The last half of the fourth quarter we played a little bit,” McCullough said. “When we started making a little run — outside of getting turnovers off the press — we penetrated to the basket, we got to the free-throw line and got the ball into our post. Which is what I always believed in working the ball inside and working your way out.”
Ottawa will make changes in its practices.
“We are going to tighten up the practice,” McCullough said. “We have a tendency to lose focus in practice. We need complete focus in practice. We have to scale everything back to the basics.”
Another part is get the players back to believing in the system and each other.
“We will figure out which kids want to end this on a good note,” McCullough said. “We have got some games. We can still do something. We can still get a first-round sub-state home game. That is what we should be shooting for right now.”
Ottawa (7-7) plays Tuesday at home against De Soto.
Spring Hill (37) — Cluck 4, Hanson 7, Baker 17, Smith 2, Carbajo 5, Weaver 2.
Ottawa (24) — Lyday 7, Bones 1, Roecker 8, C. Fischer 4, Weidner 2, Moore 2.