The schedule was designed to toughen this veteran group of Ottawa High School boys basketball players.
The Cyclones played three different styles of teams in five days this past week, including back-to-back on Friday and Saturday. Ottawa accomplished its main goal — a sweep of all three games.
Ottawa bested Bonner Springs, 70-53, on Friday, on an emotional senior night at home. On Saturday, Ottawa took care of Schlagle, 54-38, in the 810 Classic at Avila University in Kansas City, Mo.
Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said it is fun to be in basketball mode where you play games in quick fashion.
“I love situations like this,” he said. “If you get out (to Salina), you have to play three straight days.”
McCullough said the 810 Classic is a good event to be apart of.
“It is a fun thing they have going here,” McCullough said. “It is about playing basketball on a foreign court against good competition ... somebody you have not seen before. I hope we can keep coming.”
Schlagle pressured Ottawa all over the floor.
“They are athletic as heck,” McCullough said. “They are fast. They do a good job of putting pressure on you. That is what we need. We have been playing against it all year long. We have to learn how to handle pressure and take care of the basketball.”
Ottawa was in control of Schlagle from the beginning. The Cyclones took advantage of their inside game. McCullough said the Stallions did not have an answer in stopping Kobe Johnson or Reis Moore.
“We have to do that,” McCullough said. “We have to learn — if they have matchup problems — we have to take advantage of it. We did that (Friday) night for three or four straight possessions when they went man. We have so many different ways we can score. I feel they are figuring it out on their own. They are coming to me on timeouts and saying, ‘We need to do this and this. Coach, I don’t like zone, let’s stay with man.’ I love when my kids do that. They are into the game. I need that kind of leadership. We are starting to develop that in the last three or four games.”
Friday night was all about the six seniors. McCullough said this is a special group of players.
“It is a group I have personally known since second grade,” he said. “It makes it even more special. It is a group we have waited on to get here. It was a special moment. We don’t like to lose on senior night.”
Bonner Springs hung around in the first half as Ottawa led 26-21 at halftime and dominated in the second half.
“That is why I was extra intense,” McCullough said. “They probably felt a lot of pressure from me. It turned out to be a good night. We have a really good basketball team. We are going to keep striving for the perfect basketball game.”
Ottawa (11-5) takes a six-game winning streak into Tuesday’s game at Paola.