By: Donald Kane
Coming off a victory on Friday night that saw the Golden Eagles give up only 44 points, giving up 62 to Lafayette Jefferson was not what the Golden Eagles had in mind entering their contest with the Bronchos. However, with the Bronchos on fire from the three-point line from the outset, giving up more points than the previous game proved too much for Guerin Catholic to overcome, losing 57-62 at home on Saturday night.
Guerin Catholic began the game solid defensively, leading 6-2 with 4:40 left in the opening quarter. However, the Bronchos caught fire from the field late in the first quarter and went on a 12-0 run to take a 14-6 lead, and by the end of the first quarter lead 16-9. The Golden Eagles showed flashes of being very good defensively, and being able to maintain their defensive prowess for an entire quarter is the next step for them to become great.
The Golden Eagles did gradually chip away at the lead. Zach Munson began the second quarter by knocking down a three, which gave confidence to both him and his teammates. After Kian Sills connected with Drew Thieme for a layup to cut the deficit to seven, Jack Hansen hit a three followed by five points by Zach Munson to give Guerin Catholic a 22-21 lead. Guerin Catholic’s ability to spread the floor offensively when Hansen and Munson are consistently making deep shots makes them very hard to guard defensively.
After seemingly having control and up one point, Lafayette Jefferson ended the half on an 8-0 run to take a 30-22 lead into the locker room. All in all, it was a much better offensive quarter for the Golden Eagles but getting out to contest three-pointers had to be a point of emphasis in the locker room.
Down eight entering the second half, the Golden Eagles came out with an obvious focus and high intensity on both ends of the floor which propelled them to fight their way back into the game. Guerin Catholic’s focus offensively was to drive hard into the paint and then kick the ball out to open teammates on the perimeter. In the third quarter alone, the Golden Eagles converted four three-pointers as well as worked the ball inside near the basket, converting on a few layups. Defensively, active hands and on-ball pressure by the guards was a key to holding the Bronchos potent offense to only 11 points the entire quarter.
Kian Sills was a key part of Guerin Catholic being effective on both defense and offense. On offense, his penetration in the lane allowed him to pass the ball to his teammates in the interior for layups, one of them being Bernie McGuiness. On defense, his active hands lead to steals and run outs for him to pass the ball to big men Munson and Hansen to finish at the rim.
Having good stretches is not enough for the Golden Eagles to consistently win games, but if they are able to be more consistent in their ability to close out quarters, there is no reason why they cannot win a lot of games this year.
Similar to what plagued Guerin Catholic at the end of the first and second quarters, Lafayette Jefferson was feeling it from behind the arc, and it put a lot of pressure on Guerin Catholic offensively. To stay in the game it seemed as though Guerin Catholic had to score on every possession because the Bronchos could not seem to miss in the final eight minutes of regulation. The final score ended up being a 62-57 win for Lafayette Jefferson.
Even though Guerin Catholic did not come away victorious, their ball movement offensively and active hands on the defensive side in the second half were much better than in the first half. Although losses are never encouraging, Guerin Catholic has been competitive in all of their games this season.
There is an incredible amount of talent on the roster as well as young players receiving valuable experience. With a new team, players are still trying to find out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. As the season moves along, though, I expect the Golden Eagles to continue to improve and become more in sync as a unit.
The Guerin Catholic Golden Eagles travel to Lapel to face the 2-5 Bulldogs on Friday night.
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