The Ottawa High School boys basketball team is struggling to find an offensive groove this season through two games.
The Cyclones appear out of sync running sets. It raised its ugly head Tuesday in the 51-45 loss to Highland Park in Topeka.
“They did a really good job of speeding us up,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. “When that happens we start to panic and we don’t run stuff. All we have to do is run our stuff. We tried to tell them at timeouts and halftime. We could have controlled the [Piper] game if we would have run our stuff. We just didn’t.”
Despite the offensive woes, Ottawa stayed within striking distance of the Scots. Ottawa rallied from a five-point halftime deficit to take the lead in the third quarter and was down 32-31heading into the fourth quarter.
Highland Park made a squrt and Ottawa could not answer to begin the final period.
“They went to a two-man game with their big guy and point guard. We did not handle that very well. Our help side defense was standing and watching those two. We stand around and watch too much. Offensively, we do the same thing.”
Ottawa shots were off the mark, including missing layups.
“Right now, we don’t have the ability to put the ball in the hole,” McCullough said. “We are struggling scoring. We might have to shrink the playbook a little bit. Until we get good at one thing, then we can start adding. Everything we ran, we ran last year and this summer.”
Ottawa (0-2) is in danger of having to dig out of a big hole in the win-loss record.
“Our postseason is based solely on our record,” McCullough said. “It can bite you. It did last year. We will have to figure something out. The next two games are not any easier. We have to get one. We are at home on Friday. We have to try and right the ship in the next three games. We don’t want to take a losing record into Christmas break.
“We will keep going back and repping that in the next couple of days. We try to prepare for a really good Shawnee Heights team.”
Ottawa plays Shawnee Heights Friday at home and Topeka West Tuesday on the road and at home against Paola a week from Friday.
“They did not expect to be here,” McCullough said. “They are going to have to figure it out. This is their team. It is a gut check for them.”