Warriors out-muscled by R.O.P.
ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. (TDT) – While the Warriors were still shaking off the rust from an extended break, Rite of Passage took it to them in Zephyr Cover on Tuesday night cruising to a 61-46 win.
“We did not have a very good Christmas break in regards to practices,” said head coach Matt Bryant. “I think just rusty after the break. I think maybe a little intimidated by the size of that team, instead of coming out aggressive, and just not getting back on defense.”
R.O.P. definitely had the size advantage, with a few players taller than most of Whittell. R.O.P. easily out-rebounded the Warriors on both sides of the court and blocked numerous shots.
“That team was definitely physically better than us. Very tall team, probably the tallest team we’ve faced all season,” Bryant said.
The night started off bad for Whittell with R.O.P. jumping to a 20-6 lead to end the first quarter, with several turnovers leading to easy buckets. The half wrapped up with the Warriors down 41-20, and 10 turnovers. Austin Neil led the team at that point with six points off of a pair of three-pointers.
“Eight of those turnovers led to layups, I think it was 20-6 at the end of the first quarter. If eight of those are layups that’s 16 points, and basically it’d be a tie game if we didn’t have the turnovers and the layups. Again I think the kids are rusty after Christmas break,” Bryant said. “If we didn’t have the turnovers that led to the layups in the first half, we’d of probably stayed in it. You can see we did have a surge at the end of the second quarter. We did get it down to what, 13 or 11 in the second half, but you know, they got up by 16 and mentally it deflates us and we were never able to get back in it.”
While the Warriors did manage to shrink the deficit in the second half, it was still a tough go. They couldn’t find the hoop on their first five possessions of the second, which resulted in a combination of missed shots, a foul, block shots and turnovers.
On the night, Neil scored 13 points. Austin Buyak had eight points, while Garrett Bronken had six points. They ended the game with 17 turnovers.
Bryant said that there was no mandatory practice over the break, though there was an open gym. He iterated several times, that the lack of floor time over vacation was a big factor in the loss. They had their first full practice on Monday.
“Out of 11 practices only yesterday (Monday) did we have everybody there, so I would think that’s a huge thing. Also just guys not being in the gym, guys not being used to their normal schedule. Not putting up any shots, not handling the ball. Disappointing, just got to get back in the gym, the next two days,” Bryant said.
The Warriors face Quincy on Friday in Zephyr Cove. Tip off is slated for 7 p.m.
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