High school basketball teams are jockeying for sub-state seedings as the season winds down.
The Ottawa boys squad is attempting to be one of the top four seeds in the 4A east bracket and host sub-state. Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said every game is big.
“Every team, especially 4 through 18, are all jumbled,” he said. “There is five here, four here, three here. Every game is huge from this point on.”
Ottawa’s goal is win the final 10 games in a row. Ottawa is halfway to its goal. Ottawa plays a rescheduled game at noon Saturday in the 810 Varsity Classic against Schlagle at Avila University in Kansas City, Kan. Then Ottawa finishes the season with two games each in the next two weeks.
“We have to have them all,” McCullough said. “This is the downhill side. (The players) are pretty focused. They do understand what is at stake and what they need to do.”
The original schedule had Ottawa facing Summit Christian on Jan. 11 in the 810 Classic, but the game was snowed out and Summit Christian pulled out of the event.
“We wanted the game,” McCullough said. “I thought this would be a favorable matchup. It is like tournament week: Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. It is nothing new for us.
We are ready for it. I like where we are at.”
Ottawa is rounding into form. McCullough said the defense has improved and is more consistent in the past three weeks.
“The last four games after break we started playing really good defense,” McCullough said. “I hope they are buying into it. If we are going to get to Salina, it is going to be on defense. You have to shut teams down.”
Ottawa held Eudora to 26 points and jumped into a zone on a key possession late in the game.
“It was nice to see us switch things up and go zone,” McCullough said. “It was pretty solid.”
McCullough said the players are showing the fortitude to win games when things are not going their way.
“We learned so much from this game,” he said. “We can still have things not go our way and we won. We found a way to win the game. It takes a lot of (heart) to do what we want to do this year.”
McCullough said coaches like Eudora’s Kyle Deterding and Paola’s Dave Cash make life difficult on the Cyclones but do prepare the Cyclones for postseason.
“Those guys really know us,” he said. “We have seen everything that people are trying to take away from you. Now we learn how to deal with it. I love to play those guys because they do that. It makes us better having to adapt.”