BALDWIN CITY — Basketball coaches look at the big picture, not always at a small window of time.
Ottawa boys basketball coach Cliff McCullough saw a journey filled with a lot of potholes in the past couple of weeks. Ottawa has avoided a flat-tire situation by playing well enough in spurts to win games. In fact the Cyclone won eight straight games following Friday’s 71-49 victory over Baldwin in Baldwin City.
Ottawa put together two good quarters, which was enough to get by the struggling Bulldogs.
“We are doing what we intended to do (which is win),” McCullough said. “We are not going about it like I want to go about it. We are making a ton of mistakes. We are too late in the game to be making the mistakes that we are making.”
McCullough said the Cyclones are averaging about 10 unforced turnovers a game. Ottawa has a penchant for starting games slow. Ottawa fell behind Baldwin 9-3 in the early minutes.
“We made an emphasis of changing our pregame to get us a little more energy,” McCullough said. “Obviously it did not work. We came out flat in the first quarter. We came out flat in the third quarter.”
Ottawa had big second and fourth quarters to pull away from the Bulldogs.
“After the second quarter, we should have put the game away,” McCullough said. “We didn’t. We let them hang around. Give them credit. They kept shooting it. Our defense was not what it should have been.”
McCullough said Ottawa wore the Bulldogs down in the fourth quarter.
“We were able to get inside the paint and get easy buckets,” McCullough said. “We had the ability to spurt one last time. We got it spread to about 20.”
The coach said for most of the season, the Cyclones have practiced well, but have not translated that type of play to the games.
“If we would play like we practice, we would beat teams 80-20,” McCullough said. “That is the frustrating part with this group. We come out to games and we are flat. We can’t shoot. We throw the ball away. We don’t communicate with one another. I am perplexed is what is going on with this basketball team. We have to get over that. We have to get it fixed.”
Ottawa closes the regular season Friday at Spring Hill.