Cyclones can't handle Burlington's press

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald
Ottawa High School junior Noah McCullough gets a shot off in the lane against Burlington.

The Ottawa High School boys basketball team is mired in inconsistent play.

Burlington exposed another area, ball handling, on Friday, in the fifth-place game of the Burlington Tournament. The Wildcats came out pressuring Ottawa and took the Cyclones out of their game.

Ottawa fell to Burlington, 55-39.

“They flat got into us and we did not want anything to do with it,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. “They jumped us as soon as we got the ball. Our guards were terrible in getting the ball where it needed to be. That is who we are. Pressure us and we can’t play.

"We turned it over. If you pressure us, we will give the ball right to you. It makes for an easy game plan on their part.”

The Wildcats, when not getting easy buckets off the press, were hitting threes.

“Nine or 10 threes because we can’t get out and defend,” McCullough said. “We knew we can’t get out and defend a 3-point-shooting team.”

Ottawa remained in striking distance in the first half, but the Cyclones continued their inconsistent play throughout the game.

“You can’t get anything going,” McCullough said. “You can’t sustain any offense or defense. We give up threes or layups and everything in between.

“We don’t have three guys that can score with any kind of consistency.”

Sophomore Jake Titus paced Ottawa with a career-best 20 points.

Ottawa, 4-5, plays three games this week. Ottawa played Osage City at home Monday. Ottawa plays Tuesday at Blue Valley Southwest and returns home Friday to face league rival Eudora.

Burlington (55) — Anderson 17, Payer 15, Sloyer 4, Kuhlmann 1, Smith 15, Wagner 3.

Ottawa (39) — VonStaden 3, Titus 20, Beets 4, McCullough 6, Baldwin 4, Nitcher 2.