The Ottawa High School boys basketball coaching staff wanted to see the Cyclones come out and play a dominating style.
“That was the challenge to them before the game,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said after the Cyclones’ 71-34 victory Tuesday over Baldwin. “Go put the game out of hand, out of reach, early and often. I want them to develop that killer intinct. You stay on the throttle until I stop it. It was nice to be able to come in and do what we were supposed to do.”
Ottawa jumped on top quickly and never looked back. Ottawa gained a 40-20 halftime lead and pushed the lead past the 30-point mark in the third quarter.
“The third quarter was big,” McCullough said. “We came out and extended the [lead].”
The reason behind the season-best scoring output was the defense. Ottawa turned turnovers and missed shots into layups and a dunk.
“We have to get back to defense dictating how you play on offense,” McCullough said. “It leads to run outs. It led to our first dunk of the season. It leads to really good things. If we can start locking some people up defensively, good things are going to happen.”
Ottawa attacked Baldwin’s zone defense in the halfcourt. McCullough liked how the Cyclones were patient.
“They did challenge us in their zone,” McCullough said. “They went to that zone and we always struggle with a zone. We don’t run it very effectively. We adapted to some things that they were doing. Our shot selection tonight was pretty good.”
McCullough used the three week break of only playing one game to work on the offense.
“We are trying to fine-tune everything we do offensively because we have so many weapons,” McCullough said. “If we can get a lot of different touches on the ball and score it, it makes it easier.”
The game was the start of a big stretch of games with five games over an 11-day period. McCullough said the Cyclones need a deeper bench.
“I hope to get a couple more guys adddd to the rotation,” McCullough said. “I would like to find us another big.”
Ottawa (4-2) plays Thursday in a rescheduled game against Topeka West in Topeka. Next week, Ottawa plays three games in the Basehor-Linwood Tournament.
“Starting Thursday and next week is brutal,” McCullough said. “We are playing pretty good at home. We have to get a win on the road. You have to win on the road. We have four coming up.”
Ottawa will play Tonganoxie on Feb. 24 in a rescheduled game from this past Friday.