DE SOTO — Whether it is offense or defense, the Cyclones just aren’t getting any better, Cliff McCullough said.

The Ottawa High School boys basketball team suffered its fourth loss in its last five games Tuesday, falling 50-44 at De Soto.

Despite cutting what was a 10-point second half Wildcat lead to 41-39 with 2:22 left, the Cyclones couldn’t complete the rally and fell to 8-6 on the season.

“We are the same team that we have been,” McCullough, OHS head boys basketball coach, said. “I needed them to take a step forward, and we didn’t. It is the same old story — score in the 40s but we give up 50. We were praising our defense so much in the first half of the season, and now our defense is just as bad as our offense. We can’t give up 50 points and only score 40. It is just uncharted territory for Ottawa High basketball.”

The Cyclones had a 15-9 lead after the first quarter, but De Soto hit a basket at the first half buzzer to make it 27-27. The Wildcats opened the second half on a 12-2 run that put OHS down 39-29.

Ottawa cut the lead to two points at the 2:22 mark in the fourth quarter, and again to three, 45-42, on a free throw by Krys Johnson, senior, with 26 seconds left. The Cyclones didn’t get another bucket until seconds before the buzzer sounded, by which time the Wildcats had sealed the win from the foul line.

“We went to zone and we got down 10,” McCullough said of his defense. “We went to man [defense], and I liked our man. We were really aggressive. We just couldn’t get over the hump. We went cold, and missed point-blank shots inside. I’ve never seen a team that gets everything they want offensively, but cannot score.”

Kobe Johnson, sophomore, led the Cyclones with 12 points. Joseph Schnieders, junior, had 10 points for De Soto.

Ottawa returns home to play 7:30 p.m. Friday against Louisburg. The team then plays 6 p.m. Saturday against Hogan Prep Charter (16-3), a Class 3 school located in Kansas City, Missouri, at Lawrence Free State High School, 4700 Overland Drive, Lawrence.

“They are all must-win,” McCullough said of the upcoming schedule. “We just now lost a game that we got back on Spring Hill. Every game is absolutely critical.”

De Soto (50) — Schnieders 10, Bell 9, Noll 9, Jackson 8, Baruth 7, Barkemeyer 7.

Ottawa (44) — Kobe Johnson 12, Krys Johnson 11, D. Bethea 10, Shaffer 7, Savage 4.