Monday, December 22, 2014

Cyclone defense corrals Broncos

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 2/6/2014

Spring Hill High School boys basketball team can score in bunches. The Broncos routinely score in the 60s and put up 89 points on Eudora earlier this season.

The Ottawa boys have not always been a stellar defensive team, so the game Monday figured to be more of an offensive show. It was on Ottawa’s side.

Spring Hill High School boys basketball team can score in bunches. The Broncos routinely score in the 60s and put up 89 points on Eudora earlier this season.

The Ottawa boys have not always been a stellar defensive team, so the game Monday figured to be more of an offensive show. It was on Ottawa’s side.

The Cyclones defense corralled the Broncos as Ottawa claimed a 66-49 victory in Ottawa. The game was moved from Tuesday to Monday because of the snow storm.

Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough was well aware of the Broncos’ high-powered offense.

“They do it in transition and steals off their press,” he said. “If we can get them in a halfcourt game and make them beat us is the way to approach them. We came out and pressured them because we knew they liked to pressure. We tried to offset it that way. We handled their pressure pretty good.

“Get them in a halfcourt game and run our defenses at them that is how you hold them down. They went bang, bang on transition points and that is what they do. We got it figured out. We are getting better in our halfcourt defense. The ability to switch defenses and implement all that stuff is to our advantage. We did a good job of executing our defense.”

Ottawa took the Broncos out of their quick-strike offense. Spring Hill had just one run, which came in the final minute.

The Cyclones hit the Broncos with a 15-0 spurt that extended into the third quarter. Ottawa scored the first 12 points of the quarter to build a 43-22 lead.

“We felt it,” McCullough said. “It is a game of runs. We can put together runs as quick as anybody, especially when you are playing defense. It comes down to getting stops. Our goal was to hold them under 50.”

Ottawa’s offense was on target. Ottawa ran and was unselfish as nine of the 10 players scored.

“Offensively, we made the right decisions,” McCullough said. “We attacked the basket. We were getting to the basket any time we wanted. We were kicking out and hitting shots when we needed to.

“If they can learn to take what the defense gives them, they will be a dangerous team.”

What the coach liked was how Ottawa went after loose balls and was aggressive on the boards.

“Dane Jung was all over the boards,” McCullough said. “If he was not getting the rebound, he was keeping the ball alive. That was huge for us. It was good for guys like that to understand that is my job. Once we start accepting that, we are going to where we want to be.

“We are starting to play harder. We are starting to get after loose balls. All the little things that I preach day in and day out. They add up to the big things. Everybody is doing it. Those hustle plays do turn into points.”

Ottawa had a week break with the postponements from last week.

“We were pumped up to play,” McCullough said. “We had two games canceled. Everybody is tired of practicing. We are not going to play for a week. You might as well leave it all on the court.”

The strength of this team is the depth and how the team plays together.

“It is one of the most unselfish groups of kids I have seen,” McCullough said. “It never going to be about them, It is about the team. That is all they talk about is what this team wants to do.

“We are pretty fortunate to have a group of kids like that. Cole was out. Tate, Jake, Darien, Alex got more minutes. Everybody picked up the slack. We have good depth.”

Freshman Isaac McCullough scored a career-best 34 points and was the only Cyclone in double figures.

“He came out and started attacking the basket early,” McCullough said. “He started building a ton of confidence. The team got him 30 points. They get him the ball in places where he can have success.

“We know he is capable of doing something like that. He has stepped in really nice.”

Ottawa (9-3) plays Tuesday at De Soto. The Cyclones will play a boys-only game against state-ranked Piper in Ottawa on Feb. 15.

Spring Hill (49) — Johnson 6, Hodge 5, Reynolds 4, Cygan 12, Bybee 11, Hughes 5, Heinrich 5.

Ottawa (66) — McCullough 34, D. Jung 3, Blaue 6, Smith 8, T. Jung 5, Matney 3, C. Stepp 2, Rich 2, Silvey 3.

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