TOPEKA — The Ottawa High School girls basketball program is in transition. The Cyclones are under a new coaching staff and have young players. That inexperience and lack of playing together has been evident in the first two games. Ottawa improved in some areas and appeared to take a step back in others Tuesday in the 48-27 loss to Highland Park in Topeka.


“We are a work in progress,” Ottawa coach Matt Schurman said. “I like the direction we are going.”


Ottawa’s offense showed improvement by getting more shots, but they did not fall. Highland Park was able to expose the interior part of Ottawa’s defense.


“Our offense showed some promise,” Schurman said. “We had a lot of good shots that did not fall today. We need to show more patience. There are times where the first option is open. If we worked a little more, we would make the defense work. Our defense we had some breakdowns. Defensively, we have to get better. We allowed them to penetrate.”


Schurman said the players need positives to build on.


“We have to get these girls some confidence,” he said. “We need a bucket to fall here or there. It will completely different for them. We have some young players that are still learning.”


Part of the learning experience is navigating between games and learning to prepare in the right way,


“We have to get to where we can transition from Friday to Tuesday better,” Schurman said.


Ottawa did not have trouble with the press, but the noise did play a factor.


“The environment was a little louder,” Schurman said. “Our players had a hard time communicating with each other. We had a couple of steals from behind.”


Ottawa (0-2) plays at home Friday against Shawnee Heights.


Highland Park (48) — Gonzales 15, Taylor 16, Washington 6, Carter 7, Shutts 2, Hobbs 2.


Ottawa (27) — Curtis 7, K. Evans 7, Ficken 6, Hadl 6, McGrath 2, Spigle 2.