Cyclones lack toughness in Piper loss

Greg Mast
Ottawa High School junior Noah McCullough takes the ball to the hole Friday during a loss to Piper at the OHS gym.

This will be a season for patience. The Ottawa High School boys basketball team team returned one player with any significant varsity experience.

That lack of experience showed in Friday’s season-opening 64-41 loss to Piper in the OHS gym. The Cyclones were manhandled in the second half as Piper ran away for the victory.

“I knew we were green coming in,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. “I told them before the game, I don’t care if we win or lose. I wanted them to execute what we had on the board and compete. We did for a quarter and a half early.

“To give up point-blank layups and nobody even challenged them defensively. We were soft. Get your butt back and play defense. I did not feel like we competed. We let them do whatever they wanted to do.”

Piper pushed the Ottawa offense out from the basket and turned turnovers and missed shots into layups.

“You can’t let people punch you in the mouth and not respond to it,” McCullough said. “It is a man’s game. They have a lot of growing up to do. I have to be super patient with a ton of inexperienced kids.”

McCullough said the good thing is that all the mistakes are correctable.

“We did not execute,” he said. ‘They knew what they were going to do. Everything we got from them, we worked on. We have been working on pressure the past three weeks.

“We have some kids that can score. They have to get settled in.”

Ottawa (0-1) plays Friday at Shawnee Heights.

Ottawa High School senior Brady Beets uses a screen from sophomore Carter Mason to drive the ball Friday against Piper.