Cyclones discover blueprint for success

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The blueprint for success was unveiled this week for the Ottawa High School basketball team.

The Cyclones have struggled with consistency this season, but found the recipe Wednesday night. Ottawa played with intensity and executed the game plan in the 55-41 win over Labette County in the second game of the Burlington Tournament.

Ottawa High School senior Tucker Baldwin drives aggressively to the basket in the Cyclones’ victory over Labette County.

“Things go well when you play hard,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. “You have to play this game hard. It makes a huge difference. It helped everything. We shot the ball decent. Defense, you play your butts off, things will happen. It was so much better.”

McCullough said the players reacted positively to the loss Monday to Silver Lake.

“We had a great practice [Tuesday],” he said. “You have to go out and play like you practice. We have not been able to take what we have done in practice and take it over to the game. We are starting to turn the corner. We understand what it will take.”

McCullough also changed the starting line-up, inserting Carter Mason and Chase Bloomer as starters.

“It worked to our advantage,” McCullough said. “Chase Bloomer played great. He is going to be our best defender.”

Senior Jose Richards (9) and Tucker Baldwin (11) came off the bench to toss in a combined 20 points.

“Jose is starting to establish himself as a distance shooter,” McCullough said. “We need that. Tucker played a great game. We know what Noah [McCullough] will give us. Jake [Titus] is starting to play like we thought Jake could play. He is maturing right before our eyes. Brady [Beets] did some really nice things. That is what we need out of our point guard. My expectations for that position are astronomical. It is a hard position to play for me.

“Everybody played their role.”

Ottawa (4-4) led wire-to-wire, which McCullough said was important.

“We got the lead, kept the lead, and extended the lead,” he said. “We are not a team that can come out of a hole. They showed a lot of character holding onto the lead. It was a complete game for us. We needed something to build on. We have something we can build on moving forward.

“We knew it would be competitive. It was a quality opponent and was a good win for us. We needed it.”

Noah McCullough paced a balanced attack with 14 points.

Ottawa (55) — Bloomer 6, Titus 6, Beets 7, McCullough 14, Baldwin 11, Nitcher 2, Richards 9.

Labette County (41) — Vinson 5, Hestad 8, Carnahan 3, Meister 23, Brock 2.