Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cyclone boys come at Spring Hill in waves

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 1/30/2013

SPRING HILL — Catching the Ottawa High School boys basketball team off a break has not been good for opponents under sixth-year coach Jon McKowen.

The Cyclones were fresh and anxious to play. Top-ranked Ottawa — coming off a 10-day stretch between games — was relentless in its 75-29 victory over Spring Hill in Spring Hill.

SPRING HILL — Catching the Ottawa High School boys basketball team off a break has not been good for opponents under sixth-year coach Jon McKowen.

The Cyclones were fresh and anxious to play. Top-ranked Ottawa — coming off a 10-day stretch between games — was relentless in its 75-29 victory over Spring Hill in Spring Hill.

Ottawa came at the Broncos in waves all over the court. The Cyclones ran at will and forced Spring Hill to jack up quick shots.

“We did a good job of not turning it over against the press ... beating the press and getting some easies,” McKowen said. “We have two point guards that are really solid. That helps in the press. It was up tempo early. Being able to put Tyler [Smith] in there is nice. We did not drop off at all in many of our lineups.”

The players were itching to get the season started again.

“It was good to be back,” senior Alex Hasty, who had 10 points, said. “We all came back with fresh legs. It was nice to have a clean, fresh easy start.

“We were ready to go.”

Ottawa’s starts to games has not been up to par before the break. The Cyclones were determined to play a good first quarter.

“Two games in a row, we started games terrible,” McKowen said. “The last three minutes of the first quarter was really good. We went on a run and never slowed down. Our start was much better. That started in pregame warm-ups. That is something you have to do to win the big games.”

Ottawa led 7-1 after two minutes, but turned it up a few notches late in the first quarter. Ottawa went on a 27-5 spurt to break it open.

Ottawa led 10-7 with 2:40 left in the first quarter when the run started. Ottawa scored the first 15 points of the second quarter for a 37-12 lead with 3:30 left in the first half.

Spring Hill scored just 11 points combined in the second and third quarters after scoring 12 in the first quarter. Through three quarters, Ottawa held Spring Hill to 17 percent from the field.

“I was nervous ... we did not practice anything on the defensive side for 6 1/2 of our practices,” McKowen said. “We usually focus 50 to 75 percent of practice on the defense. The kids responded. They did not forget their fundamentals. We felt like our spacing on the offensive side was a weakness and we needed to fix it. We had a break to do it.

“It is great to fix it and not let something else go. You don’t have time to work on everything. I was happy with the way the came out and executed the things we practiced.”

McKowen wanted the Cyclones to not bunch up on the offensive end.

“We play really good in space,” he said. “Our movement off transition was great.”

Hasty said the Cyclones wanted to spread the Bronco defense, which opened holes for shots.

“We focused on getting everyone the ball and everyone good shots,” Hasty said. “We were taking tough shots and not shooting a good percentage.”

Ottawa shot 59 percent through three quarters. The Cyclones pushed the ball at every opportunity.

“We like to push the ball and force teams to play defense on everyone,” Hasty said.

Ottawa’s defense frustrated the Broncos.

“We played five different defenses and was pretty solid in all of them,” McKowen said.

“We took advantage of slow passes. Our on the ball defense was great.”

Hasty said it was nice for the offense to improve, but the defense is why Ottawa is successful.

Semi Ojeleye led the Cyclones with 37 points.

Ottawa (14-0, 6-0) plays Tuesday at home against De Soto.

Highlights of the Ottawa-Spring Hill game can be viewed at allstarvideosports.com

Spring Hill (29) — Smith 5, Johnson 2, Kahn 3, Bybee 3, Jesberg 3, Martinez 2, Reynolds 4, Hughes 4, Lillich 3.

Ottawa (75) — Ojeleye 37, Hasty 10, Peters 4, Shaffer 4, Natt 9, Boeh 3, Markley 2, Smith 2, Graf 1, Q. Blaue 3.

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