Harvest Christian can't catch Richmond Burton
Harvest Christian boys basketball coach Andre White Sr. expressed more disappointment in his team's lack of toughness rather than the result in Friday's 80-70 quarterfinal loss to Richmond-Burton at the E.C. Nichols Holiday Classic in Marengo.
The Lions connected on 15-of-33 3-pointers, but were outrebounded 33-17 and had difficulty handling Rockets' 6-foot-8 senior Joey St. Pierre, who finished with 20 points and 7 rebounds.
"We lost the fight, that's my main thing. I don't really focus too much on the scoreboard, I'm focused on our character," White said. "If the guys would have just listened and stuck with the game plan we had going, I believe it would have worked."
"Our offense was fine today, but we didn't have our defensive rotations as we usually do," said Lions senior Brennen Woods, who hit six 3-pointers in a game-high 24-point performance.
"The big guy in the paint really exposed our defense to the outside and made it hard for us. But overall, we could have adjusted really easy."
Harvest Christian (11-3) faced an uphill climb as Richmond-Burton (6-5) seized a 28-10 lead early in the second quarter on the heels of a 16-1 run.
The Lions narrowed the gap to 41-30 at halftime and pulled within 53-48 in the final minute of the third quarter.
However, Mark Marzahl (19 points) hit his fifth trifecta of the game to spark a 9-point Rockets run while Blaine Bayer (22 points) hit 11-of-12 free throws in the final three minutes to seal the win.
"Once we got the lead, we just wanted to keep our composure and run our stuff. For the most part I thought we did that," said Rockets coach Brandon Creason.
Playing without second leading scorer Andre White Jr. as well as contributing freshman Collin Woods, the Lions' options were limited when Brennen Woods picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter and JJ Flores (15 points) fouled out.
"When Brennen went out our flow stopped and when JJ fouled out, I was forced to play guys who have practiced together, but really haven't played together in a game." White said.
Dylan Lockwood and Grant Young finished with 9 points each while Jon Lindquist added 8 as the Lions' trio combined to hit eight 3-pointers.
After missing the last five games with a high ankle sprain, White Jr. may return Tuesday as the Lions face Antioch.
"I believe the growth that we're trying to get to is going to take time because they're young. We want things to happen overnight, but it won't happen overnight," White Sr. said.