The Ottawa High School boys basketball coaches liked how the Cyclone players reacted after losing the first two games.
Ottawa played with intensity Friday night in its home opener against Shawnee Heights. It resulted in a 63-52 victory.
“That is a step in the right direction,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. “It was not always pretty. They played for four quarters. At times, they played pretty good.”
McCullough is looking for the Cyclones to build off that performance and take it to a higher level this week before the holiday break.
“Hopefully this will propel us to a good week next week,” he said after the win. ‘We don’t want to take any steps back. We have another tough game on Tuesday and then we have a rival game on Friday. It does not get any easier.”
Ottawa plays its third road game of the season Tuesday against Topeka West and closes the pre-holiday schedule at home against Paola.
The players gave the home fans a lot to cheer about.
“They embraced it and played well in front of the home crowd,” McCullough said. “It gave these kids something to get excited about.”
The Cyclones made adjustments from their first two games.
“It was one of our better defensive games,” McCullough said. “We commanded and played our game. We made them try to adjust to us. We need to dictate what happens in the game. We let Highland Park and Piper dictate what went on. We shared the ball better. We did some things we had not done in the first two games.”
The offense was crisper with four player scoring nine points or more.
“We need to believe in our offense,” McCullough said. “The offense can give them anything they want. It is all about buying into what we are doing. They needed to see the ball go through the hoop. if we can have any kind of three-point threat, we will be a dangerous team. We have a great inside game. We have guards that can post up. We have athleticism inside with Noah (McCullough) and Alex (Quillen). We have a lot of tools. If we can get any type of perimeter game going, we will be really good.”
Ottawa hit five threes and was 10-of-16 from the line. McCullough liked how they attacked and drew fouls, especially in the second quarter.
“There were a lot of good things that happened,” he said. “Nobody is going to give you the basketball game. You have to go and take it from them.”
Kobe Johnson paced the Cyclones (1-2) with 22 points. Quillen fired in 12. Jason Brown finished with 10 points and Cade Gollier netted nine.
Shawnee Heights (52) — Davis 17, Johnson 11, Barksdale 10, Watson 5, Olson 4, Putthoff 3, Pewe 2.
Ottawa (63) — Johnson 22, Quillen 12, Brown 10, Gollier 9, McCullough 6, Moore 2, Lane 2.